Lab to probe genetic defects in bulls | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Lab to probe genetic defects in bulls

A laboratory, set to come up at the Bombay Veterinary College, Parel, by the end of April, could prevent genetic disorders in bulls and save the dairy department several crores of rupees each year.

mumbai Updated: Mar 13, 2012 02:44 IST
Nikhil M Ghanekar

A laboratory, set to come up at the Bombay Veterinary College, Parel, by the end of April, could prevent genetic disorders in bulls and save the dairy department several crores of rupees each year.

The department of animal genetics and breeding at the veterinary college will set up a laboratory that will accurately identify and eliminate genetic defects in breeding bulls. Researchers say the genetic investigation laboratory, the first-of-its-kind in Maharashtra, is likely to plug an annual loss of close to Rs32 crore per bull incurred by the state’s dairy sector because of genetic or chromosomal defects in the animal.

“Studies around the globe have proved that genetic disorders in breeding bulls lead to huge losses in the dairy sector. The semen of a genetically abnormal breeding bull is carried to all its progenies making them less fertile and multiplying the economic losses,” said Dr Uday Umrikar, associate professor at the department.

Over the next two years, a three-member team comprising Dr Umrikar, Dr AM Pachorkar, associate dean of the college and Dr Vikrant Pawar, assistant professor at the department will collect semen samples of around 400-500 breeding bulls to determine genetic abnormalities, chromosomal defects, origin of defects in parents and progeny, and its effects on their reproductive performances.

The AGB arrived at the figure of the predicted loss behind per bull by calculating the economic fallout of 20% loss in fertility and 20% loss in the lifetime milk production. According to Dr Umrikar, this is a conservative estimate and that losses might be much more as artificial insemination spreads defects in large numbers among cattle.

Ban on bullock cart races

Mumbai: No bullock-cart race can take place in Maharashtra, with the Bombay high court removing a loophole that permitted the races using castrated bulls.

The court, on Monday, struck down a corrigendum issued by the Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Department.

The department had issued a notification on August 24, 2011 imposing a complete ban on bullock-cart races.

However, in September 2011, the department issued a corrigendum stating that the word “bull” should be interpreted as a non-castrated bull. The judges felt it was impermissible for the state government or its officers to distinguish between castrated and non-castrated bulls and thereby allow the use of castrated bulls for racing.