Bangladeshi scientists decode genome sequence of Black Bengal goat

Sujay Chowdhury . Chattogram | Update:

Black Bengal Goat. File photoA group of researchers from five universities in Chatttogram have decoded the full genome sequence of Black Bengal goat. Seven researchers led by AMAM Zonaed Siddiki, professor of Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU), were in the team.

Black Bengal (Capra hircus), a local breed of goat in Bangladesh, is one of the best breeds of goat in the world. “The weaknesses of this breed have been spotted by decoding the genome,” Zonaed Siddiki, said. “We’re now trying to develop a new advanced breed.”

“This research will help improve the quality of meat, power of prevention of diseases and its production will increase too,” he said.

The finding was published in the Springer Nature’s renowned science journal ‘BMC Research Notes’ as well as in Taylor and Francis Group’s ‘Mitochondrial DNA Part B’.

US based National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has recognised the study too.

Earlier, Bangladesh decoded genome sequence of jute, buffalo and Hilsa fish. Another researcher, professor Bajlur Rahman Molla, from Bangladesh Agriculture University too was successful in the same field of Black Bengal goat.

Two agencies of the agriculture ministry have already shown interest to finance the new research, professor Zonaed said.

Goats die following complications of cold or fever due to PPR virus infection. Around five to 10 per cent of the Black Bengal goat’s kids die of this. The research has unveiled the details of why and how the kids get infected.

A mature goat gives birth to two and a half kids on an average every year. The third kid does not generally get adequate milk. This leaves the kid weak leading to a shorter span of life or malnutrition.

Researchers from five universities -- Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chittagong University, Asian University for Women, USTC and Premier University -- took part in the research.

According to the research team, the length of Black Bengal goat genome is about 3.4 gigabase pair (Gb). The 26,000 genes from 29 pairs of chromosome were decoded. The information has been saved at the database of NCBI.

A very powerful computer with 128-GB RAM was set up at the CVASU to analyse the information of the chromosomal study. A server of the University Grants Commission (UGC) was also used for the purpose.

According to the livestock department of the country, Bangladesh stands fourth in producing the highest number of goats in the world while it ranks fifth in producing chevon in the world.

The rawhide of the Black Bengal goat is known as Kushtia Grade around the world. Among the 25 million goats in the country 95 per cent is Black Bengal.

“If we succeed, local goat production will increase and this will contribute to eliminate poverty,” professor Zonaed said.

*The report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrin

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