International Journal of Bioscience and Biochemistry

Vol. 5, Issue 1, Part A (2023)

Genetic basis of Abigar and Sheko cattle breed adaptations in the tsetse infested lowlands of Ethiopia: A review


Abera Fekata Dinkissa


The objective of this review paper was to assess the genetic foundation of the Abigar and Sheko cattle breeds and their adaptations in the tsetse-infected lowlands of Ethiopia. Sheko cattle are more resistant to biting fly attacks and maintain their body condition, unlike Zebu cattle, making them less likely to get the disease. The sheko breed is prized for its milk production, adaptability, and greater trypan tolerance compared to other Ethiopian native cattle groups. Shekos do not typically contract the disease during the trypanosomiasis challenge's primary season, and they do not require regular medication and are able to recover from the endemic unaided. The Abigar cattle breed has been produced and maintained primarily by the Nuer people under pastoral and ago-pastoral production methods, with Gambella Regional State serving as both the breed's origin and primary breeding tract. The breed is also noted for its docile nature, long body length, enormous body size, medium height, and typically long curving horns. The predominant coat colors in the population are white and gray. Abigar cattle have special adaptation features that allow them to thrive, produce, and reproduce in conditions of extreme heat, frequent disease outbreaks, and other difficulties. Such adaptation is crucial for low-input farming methods that can be gradually established using locally adapted livestock breeds that have evolved in tandem with the competing forces of arid and semi-arid habitats. Finally, the genetic foundations of the Abigar and Sheko cattle breeds have stronger behavioral adaptations to tsetse-infected animals in Ethiopian lowland areas. Thus, adaptation traits that include tolerance to biting flies, tolerance to heat stress, resistance to tick and internal parasite infestation, and feeding efficiency in order to better understand the trypan tolerance attribute and some adaptation traits of the Abigar and Sheko cattle breeds, further intervention and conservation should be implemented. 

Pages: 14-18  |  157 Views  53 Downloads

How to cite this article:
Abera Fekata Dinkissa. Genetic basis of Abigar and Sheko cattle breed adaptations in the tsetse infested lowlands of Ethiopia: A review. Int. J. Biosci. Biochem. 2023;5(1):14-18. DOI: 10.33545/26646536.2023.v5.i1a.34
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