Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve Poultry

Genomics in Poultry

Contact: Huaijun Zhou, PhD- Director/PI (hzhou@ucdavis.edu)

Funding: USAID

Lead Institutions: UC Davis 

Partners: Iowa State University, University of Deleware, Sokoine University of Agriculture- Tanzania, University of Ghana

The USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve Poultry seeks to improve the production of chicken and eggs by households and small farmers,

and thereby improve food security, nutrition and livelihoods in Africa -- key goals of the Feed the Future Program.

In the first phase of the program from 2013-2018, it applied advance genetics and genomics approaches to sustainably enhance innate resistance to Newcastle disease and heat stress in chickens to improve production.

Currently in its second phase of another 5 years, the program emphasis to develop a comprehensive platform for genetic selection of resilience to Newcastle virus (NDV) and other economically important traits. It will also validate the enhanced resilience to Newcastle disease (ND) in African indigenous chicken ecotypes using genetic selection platform, and characterize circulating strains of NDV in Ghana and Tanzania.

During this five-year period, the program will also conduct a poultry value chain assessment and develop a business plan for breeding and distribution of chicken line with enhanced ND resilience and collaborate with public and private poultry sectors in Tanzania and Ghana to apply the technology to improve ND resilience in indigenous chickens, and train breeders and farmers on use the genetic selection platform.

This research program is being implemented through a consortium team led by the University of California-Davis in collaboration with Iowa State University, the University of Delaware, Sokoine University of Agriculture-Tanzania and the University of Ghana.