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Ngeno, K. (2015). Breeding program for indigenous chicken in Kenya. Analysis of diversity in indigenous chicken populations. PhD thesis, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
The objective of this research was to generate knowledge required for the development of an indigenous chicken (IC) breeding program for enhanced productivity and improved human livelihood in Kenya. The initial step was to review five questions; what, why and how should we conserve IC in an effective and sustainable way, who are the stakeholders and what are their roles in the IC breeding program. The next step of the research focused on detecting distinctive IC ecotypes through morphological and genomic characterization. Indigenous chicken ecotypes were found to be populations with huge variability in the morphological features. Molecular characterization was carried out using microsatellite markers and whole genome re-sequenced data. The studied IC ecotypes are genetically distinct groups. The MHC-linked microsatellite markers divided the eight IC ecotypes studied into three mixed clusters, composing of individuals from the different ecotypes whereas non-MHC markers grouped ICs into two groups. Analysis revealed high genetic variation within the ecotype with highly diverse MHC-linked alleles which are known to be involved in disease resistance. Whole genome re-sequencing revealed genomic variability, regions affected by selection, candidate genes and mutations that can explain partially the phenotypic divergence between IC and commercial layers. Unlike commercial chickens, IC preserved a high genomic variability that may be important in addressing present and future challenges associated with environmental adaptation and farmers’ breeding goals. Lastly, this study showed that there is an opportunity to improve IC through selection within the population. Genetic improvement utilizing within IC selection requires setting up a breeding program. The study described the systematic and logical steps in designing a breeding program by focusing on farmers’ need, how to improve IC to fit the farming conditions, and management regimes.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Award date||3 Jun 2015|
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
- native livestock
- animal breeding
- breeding programmes
- genetic diversity
- genetic improvement
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