india's department of biotechnology has launched a us $1.2 million project to unravel the genome of the water buffalo. Nearly 90 per cent of milk consumed in the country is provided by these water buffaloes.
The three-year long project is aimed at improving the genetic pool of the animals. Farmers are neglecting certain breeds because they give poor yield of nutritious milk. For example, only 2,000 bhadawari buffalo are found across the country. Reason: their milk contains more than 14 per cent fat. "These breeds may not be economically viable but they have genes for traits that could be very critical in the future,' says Satish Kumar of the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology