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Biotechnology and Livestock

BY: bluemoon silverstars | Category: Others | Submitted: 2010-05-23 08:43:56
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Article Summary: "Biotechnology has played an important role in improving the livestock. Animal health is the main task of biotech and new drugs and vaccines have been developed to cure different diseases..."


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Biotechnology is a very vast field and is not new. For thousands of years people are using biotechnology techniques to make, beer and bread. Biotechnology provides the benefit of producing live-stock on a small scale. One of the most important goals of biotech is to provide low cost vaccines. Other uses are the development of new products which include feeds, food and medicines which are mad from the animal products. Though method of classic breeding is very successful but it is very slow and a lot of time is required to get genetically modified animals. Biotechnology provides methods of breeding which are easy and provide healthy animals with superior genetic traits. Another important method of animal breeding is the embryo transfer. In this method, embryos are produced by superior females and then are removed for gestation by other animals. The superior females may produce more eggs than the normal by using hormonal injections or super-ovulation. Other than embryos, unfertilized eggs can also be removed from the superior females which are also called as oocytes.

Artificial insemination is another technique in which many embryos are produced in the superior females and then are removed and transplanted into the disparate females for gestation. Other developments in the livestock breeding by using biotechnology methods are production of clones. In this technique identical organisms are produced. Genetic evaluation of the sperm and improved freezing techniques for semen, embryos and oocytes are also part of artificial insemination to improve the quality of livestock.

It is now possible to fertilize the embryo of the chick artificially and then culture it inside the laboratory in an artificial egg in poultry production. These embryos are kept in these eggs until they are ready to hatch. Genetic manipulation is allowed before the formation of the egg. Animals which are genetically superior to other animals are the basis of livestock breeding. But biotechnology has made it possible to use superior females for obtaining the genetic material not only they are source of getting best offspring. For example water buffalo gives birth to offspring after every two years, but biotechnology techniques like super-ovulation and embryo transfer has made possible to get one calf every year.

Animal health:-

Biotechnology has allowed the scientists to detect defected genes which cause infection in animals before they are bred. Porcine Stress Syndrome is a disease which causes infection in the animals. Pigs containing this gene are exposed to stress. If pigs suffer from this disease, they show symptoms of trembling of the muscle or tail. Due to this disease, they develop skin redness, their breathing gets labored and temperature of their body rises from the normal temperature. These symptoms may lead to the death of the animal. Pigs with this syndrome show reaction to halothane gas. When they are subjected to the gas for four or five minutes, their muscles become rigid which has not been seen in normal animals. DNA test has been introduced to detect the gene which causes the Porcine Stress Syndrome. Now pigs which carry this gene can easily be identified and their breeding can be stopped.

Genetic Diseases in Cattle:-

Many DNA tests are now available through which inherited weaknesses can be detected in cattle. Some conditions which are identified by this test are Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency and Factor 13 Deficiency. In LAD, repeated bacterial infections in animals, stunted growth and death of the animal occur during the first year of birth. Factor 3 prevents the blood from normal coagulation. In such infections, many calves die because of so much bleeding from the umbilical cord or die because of the internal bleeding.

Vaccines of Livestock:-
Out of many advantages of biotechnology, one advantage is the development of the vaccines. These vaccines ac against the diseases and help them cure. Some vaccines make action against infectious illnesses. For example new vaccine called combined vaccine protects the pigs against three lung infection kinds: pleuro-pneumonia, pneumonic pasteurellosis and enzootic pneumonia. Korea has developed new vaccine which acts against swine fever which a highly infectious disease is causing most of the deaths. Improved vaccines have been developing in Philippine to protect water buffalo and other cattle against hemorrhagic septicemia which is a leading cause of death in many species of animals. Some scientists in Philippine have also developed vaccines against fowl cholera and Newcastle disease which occurs in poultry.

These vaccines developed through biotechnology techniques are more effective and cure disease within less time than the traditional vaccines. Sometimes conventional vaccines cause a virulent effect inside the animal instead of curing the infection. Genetically developed vaccines stay stable at room temperature and they do not need refrigerated storage.

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