By Dr. C. M. Seth
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Indian cow and buffalo breeds possess a rich A2 allele gene that provides a better and healthier quality of milk than foreign breeds, according to a new study. The PTI recently reported about the study.
“The A2 allele gene in Indian milk breeds of cows and buffalos are 100 per cent, while in foreign breeds, it is around 60 per cent,” scientists of the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) have said in a report. Furthermore the frequency of this allele in Indian milk breeds is 1.0 (100 per cent), while in exotic breeds, it has been reported to be nearly 0.6 (60 per cent) or less, they added. Set up in 1984, NBAGR is an arm of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and is based in Karnal, Haryana.
The finding was arrived at after screening the status of the A2 allele of the beta casein gene in indigenous cows like Red Sindhi, Sahiwal, Tharparkar, Rathi and Gir etc, NBAGR Director B K Joshi said. “The counter allele to A2 is A1, which is considered to be associated with diabetic, obesity, cardiovascular diseases etc,” added Joshi. “Although the foreign breeds of cows produce more milk than Indian varieties, but due to more concentration of A1 gene in those breeds, the milk is of low quality,” the report said, adding that the long-term use of such milk may cause several health disorders.
The scientists scanned 22 breeds of Indian cows and found that in five milk yielding Indian cows — Red Sindhi, Sahiwal, Tharparkar, Rathi and Gir — the status of the A2 allele was 100 per cent, while in other Indian breeds used for farming, its status was around 94 per cent, Joshi added. The scientists also scanned the status of this allele in the two most popular foreign breeds in India, Holstein Friesian and Jersey, in which the status of the A2 allele was 60 per cent only.
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By Dr. C. M. Seth
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