An international team of researchers led by the University of Adelaide in Australia has published the full genome of the water buffalo - opening the way for improved breeding and conservation of this economically important animal. The consortium of partners in Australia, Italy, China, Brazil, and the USA, with additional contributors in other countries, say they have now created the tools needed to apply modern molecular breeding systems to water buffalo. "Water buffaloes were domesticated about 5,000 years ago, and since then have been of economic importance for milk, meat, and as a work animal around the world," says consortium leader Professor John Williams, Director of the University of Adelaide's Davies Research Centre at the Roseworthy campus. "They are particularly important in developing countries and, in specialized markets, they provide milk for products such as mozzarella cheese in Italy. The water buffalo is a key agricultural animal because it is able to adapt to diverse environments, and is particularly tolerant of disease. "In Australia, they were brought to Northern Territory in the early 19th century and today there are milking herds of buffalo in Northern Territory and in South Australia." There are two subspecies of water buffalo.
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