Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

The Genomics to Improve Poultry Innovation Lab is working to reduce limitations to chicken production by applying advanced genetics and genomic approaches. Genomics hold the power to enhance natural resistance to poultry diseases and hot climates, the most significant issues affecting poultry production in Africa. A cost-effective genetic diagnostic kit will be developed to select  ecotypes of African chickens with greater innate resistance to Newcastle disease (ND) and heat stress. A distribution system will be implemented to effectively place improved breeding stock in the hands of households and small farmers. The expected results will help achieve the goals of the USAID Feed the Future Program to strengthen food security and reduce global hunger. The established system is also expected to be readily translated to other countries and/or other important diseases.

Lead Institute

University of California, Davis

Focus countries

Ghana, Tanzania

Homestead and small-scale poultry production has tremendous potential to alleviate malnutrition and poverty in rural communities in Africa. Poor animal health and husbandry, and hot climates, limit village poultry production. Newcastle disease is the top constraint of raising poultry in Africa, causing death rates as high as 80% among village flocks. We are using science-based information to sustainably enhance natural resistance to ND and heat stress in local, culturally accepted chicken populations in Africa. Improved stocks will also respond more effectively to vaccines. Impacts will include improved production by small farmers and enhanced food security and economics of households. Additionally, because African women are traditionally the primary caretakers and beneficiaries of poultry production, this project will empower women.


US based partners

Iowa State University, University of Delaware

Focus country partners

Sokoine University of Agriculture, University of Ghana

Learn more

Visit our website to find the latest on our research, including our research program and upcoming publications.


Stay in touch

Visit the UC Davis Animal Science Facebook page or email our director Huaijun Zhou, PhD, Director/Principal Investigator of Genomics to Improve Poultry Innovation Lab for more information: hzhou@ucdavis.edu

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