Dr. Nilesh Nayee
Nilesh is a Veterinary Graduate and has a Post Graduate degree in Animal Genetics and Breeding. Since 2001 he has been working with National Dairy Development Board of India in Animal Breeding Group focusing on Genomics. The Genomics team at NDDB is involved in developing infrastructure for measurement of traits in smallholder production conditions and running genetic and genomic evaluations of different breeds of cattle and buffaloes. Their major work at present is in developing Genomic Selection methodologies for cattle and buffalo breeds in Indian conditions. The team has developed custom genotyping chips for the populations of Indian cattle and buffaloes. Current focus is how to use genomics in selection of AI bulls in India.
Indian dairy sector is characterized by smallholders having 2-5 milking animals per producer. There is also a huge breed diversity in cattle and buffaloes in India. Performance recording and implementing Genetic improvement programs in such conditions is very challenging and costly too. Genomic Selection using the female reference population is likely to help in such a situation.
National Dairy Development Board is spearheading the implementation of genetic improvement programs involving major cattle and buffalo breeds. A large number of animals are being recorded in these programs. A Genomic Selection methodology is now being applied to augment the genetic progress in these breeds. Customized genotyping chips - “INDUSCHIP” for cattle breeds and “BUFFCHIP” for buffalo breeds – have been developed on the Illumina platform for cost-effective genotyping of reference animals of various cattle and buffalo breeds. In-house genotyping facilities have been developed to cater to the need for high quality genotype data to arrive at genomic breeding values of young bulls being produced under the genetic improvement programs.
It is demonstrated that genetic evaluation of young bulls based on genomics was around 75% more accurate in comparison to pedigree based genetic evaluation in small holder conditions. The young bulls of Holstein and Jersey Crossbred cattle are now being selected based on Genomically Estimated Breeding Values (GEBV) calculated using ssGBLUP method for milk yield. These bull calves are being supplied to Frozen Semen Production Centers across the country. A sizeable reference population each for Gir breed of cattle, and Murrah and Mehsana breeds of buffaloes has been genotyped and soon young bulls for these breeds will be selected based on GEBVs.