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Avian Genetics & Breeding

      The Division is involved in conducting basic, applied and adaptive research in the areas of Avian Genetics & Breeding and Avian Biotechnology. Main thrust areas include genetic improvement of diversified poultry species, maintenance, evaluation and utilization of native chicken, development and multiplication of superior germplasm, genomics and functional genetics analyses, rCytokine production and application of gene driven technologies like transgenesis and RNAi, etc.
Development of highly skilled and trained manpower and imparting specialized training and post-graduate education in the area of Avian Genetics and Breeding constitute an important mandate of this Division. The Division also provides assistance in training programmes organized by Post Graduate Education & Training and/ or Technology Transfer sections, consultancy services to farmers and various organizations, transfer of proven technologies to end users and supply of superior germplasm in the form of fertile eggs and day old chicks to various stake holders.
Divisional facilities encompass five experimental farms (Quail Farm, Guinea Fowl Farm, Desi Fowl Farm, Layer Farm and l Broiler Farm), apart from Experimental Turkey and Emu Farms at the institute, four laboratories (Molecular Genetics Lab,  Genome Mapping Lab, Disease Genetics and Biotechnology Lab and Animal  Genetics Lab), besides computer centre and data recording cell.

Research Activities & Achievements

Major activities of the division include improvement and propogation of diversified poultry species through conventional breeding and application of biotechnological tools, as briefy mentioned below:

  • Quail improvement:  Quails were introduced in the country at this Institute in 1974 with the import of hatching eggs from University of California, USA. The egg and meat lines were evaluated and selected for various economically important traits. Mean body weight at 5th week of age (marketable age) has improved from 110 to 240g. The egg weight has improved from 7.5 to 14.5g. Few more lines were added from Federal Republic of Germany during 1978 and from Korea in 1980. Initially, there was only one feather-colour variant, however, during last decade, four more variants have been developed.
  • Guinea fowl improvement: Three variants of Guinea fowl are being maintained and improved genetically. At 12 weeks of age (marketable age) the body weights of CHITAMBARI, KADAMBARI and SWETAMBARI varieties range from 970-1000 g, 950-1000 g and 920-980 g, respectively.
  • Improvement of native fowl for rural poultry: Work on collection, evaluation and utilization of Aseel and Kadakanath native fowl breeds was initiated during 1976 and later on Naked Neck and Frizzle ecotypes were included in the year 1992. Morphological and molecular characterization and evaluation for their growth, production, feed efficiency, immunocompetence profiling and combining ability for above mentioned traits with Dahlem Red (exotic breed from Germany) were completed. Large variations were observed among various pure breeds for all the traits which showed that all the breeds deserve conservation. Immunocompetence study of Indian native breeds indicated that they have better disease resistance in comparison to exotic breeds.  In genetic distance study at molecular level, Kadakanath was found to be at greater genetic distance than other three breeds.Two indigenous chicken breeds namely Ankaleshwar in 2007 and Nicobari in 2010 have also been added. Besides, parent stocks of Vanraja commercial cross has also been introduced recently.
  • Improvement of layer chicken (AICRP Component): White Leghorn pure strains at CARI under AICRP have covered 31 generations of selection with the production profile of its commercial cross namely CARI-PRIYA (white egger) of more than 300 eggs on hen house basis with an average egg weight of 57 g and feed efficiency of 1.77 kg feed/ dozen eggs which is quite comparable with the leading commercial of the country.
  • RIR Improvement: The mean for egg production, egg mass, ASM, EW40, body weights at 20 and  40 weeks of age were 99.24 eggs, 5015.55 g, 140.58 days, 50.54g, 1570.25g and 1825.84g in RIR selected strain. Corresponding means in commercial CARI-SONALI (tinted egger) were 105.70 eggs, 5508.03g, 149.82 days, 52.11g, 1447.77 and 1681.44 g. CARI-Debendra(Dual purpose), meant for rural poultry production, has the corresponding values of 95.82 eggs, 5422.45g, 154.27 days, 56.59g, 2214.36 and 2928.39 g.
  • Improvement of broiler chicken (AICRP Component): CARIBRO-Vishal (white plumage), developed at this institute, attained 2.1 kg in 7 weeks with FCR of <1.8., while CARIBRO-Dhanraja (coloured plumage) gained approx. 1500-1700 g at 6 weeks of age with 1.92 FCR and mortality below 3%. This apart, CARIBRO-Mritunjaya (suitable for hot & dry region), introgressed with Naked Neck gene and CARIBRO-Tropicana (suitable for hot & humid region), introgressed with both Naked Neck & Frizzle genes have also been developed at this Institute, with body weight close to 1400-1500 g and FCR of <1.95.
  • Dissemination of improved germplasm: The pure line stock of quails, guinea fowl, ducks, turkey, egg and meat type chickens, developed at CARI, have been supplied over a span of more than 3.5 decades, to various govt./ semi-govt. & private agencies throughout the country, which is a significant and remarkable contribution of institute towards bringing self-sufficiency in the country.

Avian Biotechnology

  • Genetic characterization of poultry germplasm: Various poultry germplasms of  Duck,  Quail,  Turkey, Desi fowl,  Layer and  Broiler maintained at the Institute/ regional centre have been characterized at molecular level, using advanced molecular markers viz., RAPD, Microsatellites, etc.  Nucleotide diversity have been studied in specific candidate genes viz., ChB6, IAP-1, and ZOV3 in Aseel and Kadaknath.
  • Sex differentiation in diversified poultry species using molecular method: A PCR based method has been standardized for sex differentiation in diversified poultry viz., Duck, Quail, Turkey, Guinea fowl and chicken. The method has been further simplified to differentiate sex directly from blood without the need for isolation/ purification of DNA.
  • immunocompetence (IC) profiles of various poultry germplasm: Immunocompetence profiles of various immunological traits viz., humoral antibody response to sheep erythrocytes, cell mediated immune response, serum levels of lysozyme and IgG of diversified poultry species have been developed. IC profiling of Aseel and Kadaknath breeds demonstrated the least squares means of HA titre against sheep erythrocytes, serum lysozyme & IgG levels as 8.14, 4.66 ug/ml and 11.73 mg/ml in Aseel and 7.46, 4.85 ug/ml and 12.62 mg/ml in Kadaknath breeds, respectively. In addition, evaluated immune responsiveness to NDV and IBD viruses and established that immune response is under genetic control and can be improved through appropriate selection and breeding strategies.
  • Development of transgenic sperm: Two reporter genes were internalized and integrated in genome of chicken spermatozoa using lipofection and restriction enzyme mediated integration (REMI) in chicken.
  • Silencing of myostatin gene in cultured chicken embryo fibroblast: Successful in vitro partial silencing of myostatin gene has been achieved.
  •  Production and utilization of recombinant proteins: Recombinant cytokine like IFN-gamma, IL-2, lymphotectin and RANTES were produced. IFN-gamma and IL-2 were assessed for as adjuvant with ND vaccine and as growth promoter.
  • Comparative & functional genomics: Different MHC genes i.e. BLB2, BF2 and non MHC genes such as cytokines (IFN-g, iNOS) were amplified, cloned, sequenced in guinea fowl and were the first global reports. Sequence homology comparisons revealed very high degree of conservation of structural and functional motifs between RJF and chicken.
  • Differential sequence expression revealed a few primers OPAA02, OPD08, OPZ16 etc. producing several amplified products in almost all tissues viz., liver, spleen, bursa and thymus tissues of the 3 breeds viz., Aseel and Kadaknath and White Leghorn chicken, wherein amplification differed either in the presence or absence of a particular amplicon or in the intensity (expression level) of some amplicons.
  • Development immunodivergent lines and disease resistance analysis: Immuno-divergent lines for humoral and cell mediated immune response have been developed and analyzed using genomics and functional genomics approaches. Identification of an SNP associated with ND vaccine response and development of new MHC genotyping procedure and selection criteria for enhanced immunocompetence have been achieved. Analysis of TvB locus to find ALV resistant/susceptible alleles among WLH, Kadaknath and Aseel highlighted the scope of molecular breeding for ALV resistance.
  • The prominent chicken breeds: Kadaknath (KN), WLH and Aseel Kagar (AK) segregated for both susceptible “S1” and resistant alleles “R” for Avian Leukosis virus subgroup, ‘B’, ‘D’ and ‘E’ infections, where the “R” was represented through heterozygotes only in KN and AK. The frequency of “R” in KN, AK and WLH was 0.10, 0.062 and 0.167 respectively. It revealed that since there was reasonable frequency of “R” alleles in KN, WLH and AK breeds, genetically-resistant populations can be developed from within KN, Aseel and WLH by selective breeding and its introgression into other high-yielding chicken populations, especially broilers.
  • Marker assisted Introgression of major gene in chicken: Naked neck gene was successfully introgressed in a egg type population using genomic selection based on parental genomic proportion estimated through microsatellite markers.
  • Cloning and sequencing studies: Partial CDS of Insulin-like growth factor-2 (IGF-II),  Interleukin 6,  Interleukin 10 and MIP 1-b have been cloned in pGMT vector.
  • QTL studies:   High (HP) and low production (LP) extreme pools of 100 birds each were made based on egg number (EP-68) for selective genotyping. SNP variation across Mitochondrial D-loop sequence (HVR) regions for the samples of HP and LP pools showed nine SNPs in HP and ten SNPs in LP. QTL detection using a potential resource population pair like IWH-IWC analysed with a high-density marker system like the 60K-SNP array may be beneficial.
  • Parthenogenetic develoment: Molecular studies on karyotyping  and micro-array gene analysis of parthenogenetic development turkey embryos have been carried out.

Front Line Demostration

  • Division is participating in the field validation programme for testing the germplasms developed at this institute. Currently, the commercial crosses of layer and broiler strains developed under AICRP are being tested for their performance under field conditions.
Teaching Activity
Course Code
Title of the course
Theory/ Practical
Course Instructor
AGB 507 Molecular Genetics Theory Dr. Sanjeev Kumar
AGB 508 Molecular Genetics Practical Dr. Sanjeev Kumar
AGB 701 Genome Analysis Theory Dr. Sanjeev Kumar
AGB 702 Gene expression and Regulation Practical Dr. Sanjeev Kumar
AGB 715 Research techniques in Animal Genetics & Breeding Theory Dr. Sanjeev Kumar
PSC-581 Fundamentals of Poultry Genetics Theory  
PSC-582 Fundamentals of Poultry Genetics Practical  
PSC-584 Introduction to Poultry Breeding Practical Dr. Raj Narayan
PSC-681 Selection Methods Theory Dr. V.K. Saxena
PSC-783 Advances in Avian Molecular Genetics Theory  
PSC-785 Advances in Poultry Breeding-II Theory Dr. V.K. Saxena

Improved Germplasm Developed

High yielding poultry germplasm: Concerted efforts of scientists of this division and other units of the Institute have culminated into development and dissemination of quality germplasm in the form of pure lines, parental stocks and commercial crosses of diversified poultry species viz. Quail (CARI-PEARL, CARI-SWETA, CARI-UJJWAL, CARI-BROWN, CARI-SUNHERI  and CARI-UTTAM), Guinea Fowl (CHITAMBARI, KADAMBARI, SWETAMBARI), Turkey (CARI-VIRAT), Ducks (Moti, Desi, Khaki Campbell, White Pekin), low input improved Desi fowl varieties (CARI-NIRBHEEK, CARI-SHYAMA, HITCARI and UPCARI),, Layers (CARI-PRIYA, CARI-SONALI and CARI-DEBENDRA) and broilers (CARIBRO-DHANRAJA, CARIBRO-VISHAL,  CARIBRO-MRITYUNJAI, CARIBRO-TROPICANA) all over the country.

Faculty Profile
S.No. Name Status
1. Dr. V.K. Saxena   Head & Principal Scientist
2, Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Principal Scientist & I/C Molecular Genetics Lab, Genome Mapping Lab
3. Dr. Raj Narayan   Principal Scientist & I/C Quail Farm
4. Dr. Simmi Tomar Principal Scientist & I/c Guinea Fowl Farm
5. Dr. Chandrahas Senior Scientist
5. Dr. Rokade Jaydip Jaywant Scientist




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