Although goats can thrive in all environments, whether temperate, tropical, arid, humid, semi humid, hot or cold, the majority (67%) of the world’s goats lives in Africa and Asia. Developing countries with poor economies have more goats (94%) than developed industrialized nations, and most are reared for meat, milk and fiber. Other byproducts, such as hides, bone and hair, are also utilized. Goats’ milk is considered wholesome and easy to digest, and its fat and protein contents are similar to those of human milk, making it ideal for human nutrition. It contains smaller fat globules than cow’s milk (3.5 µm compared to 4.5 µm) and has different protein polymorphs and high levels of short-chain and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
If investment costs are considered, a goat producing 750 kg of milk annually can be equivalent to a cow producing 3750 kg of milk annually. Goat keeping requires very little capital investment in equipment and housing and is ideally suited to poor economies. Studies have shown that goats were 40-60% more profitable than sheep and that the cost of producing a liter of goats’ milk was half that of a liter of cow’s milk. Other studies have shown that goats are more economically viable for poor farmers as they provided employment opportunities and are a source of protein for households. Further experiments have demonstrated that goats produce more meat and milk per unit weight or feed input than sheep, camels or cows.
Hence it has been proved that the rearing of goats is important for poor economies. What is needed is improvement in productivity. The use of biotechnological tools may help increase goat productivity.
In this research paper, biotechnological advances in goat production ranging from augmentation of primodial germ cell pool, embryo production techniques, embryo evaluation and grading techniques, determination of embryo viability, embryo transfer techniques, embryo manipulation, in vitro fertilization and sexing, cryopreservation, vitrification, ultrasonography, to Laparoscopy techniques have been reviewed.
Production of desired chimeras, clones, fetal material relationship, DNA finger printing, therapeutic transgenic goat and nuclear vaccine production using goats are also discussed.
The author of this paper is Dr. G. M. Wani. He has written and contributed more than 200 papers in research journals and conferences in the field of biotechnologies of small ruminants. To mention just one of them, his scholarly paper Multiple Management System can be found in the Encyclopedia of Dairy Sciences, published by Elsevier Academic Press, UK. Dr. Wani has worked in international institutes of repute, including the Veterinary University of Hanover, Germany; and the Veterinary Research Institute in India. He has a number of national and international awards to his credit, and his biography is included in many leading biographies. At present, Dr. Wani is Director of Extension Education at the University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Srinagar, Kashmir, India.
Number of Words: 2, 700.
Number of Pages: approx. 10