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HomeARM ARTICLESUnlocking Food Security: Mercy Oso's Genetic Journey for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria

Unlocking Food Security: Mercy Oso’s Genetic Journey for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria

Mercy Oso, a graduate in Animal Health and Production, has embarked on a journey from her early interest in genetics to becoming a research fellow at Kent State University, focusing on molecular biology and genetics. In this interview, she sheds light on the critical role of genetics, particularly in animal breeding, and its profound implications for food security in Nigeria.

Interest in Genetics

Mercy’s fascination with genetics began in her teenage years, driven by her observations of the diversity in species, shapes, colors, and sizes of plants and animals. This curiosity led her to delve into the introductory class in genetics in Nigeria, sparking a passion that continues to fuel her research in the field.

Genetics and Its Impact on Food Security

Highlighting the importance of genetics in animal breeding, Mercy emphasizes its significant role in ensuring and enhancing food security in Nigeria. Understanding the genetic makeup of local breeds is crucial for making informed decisions in breeding programs, selecting desirable traits, and improving overall animal production quality. The ability to identify specific advantageous traits, such as increased milk production, disease resistance, and adaptability, is vital for sustainable agriculture. Selective breeding, facilitated by genetic knowledge, allows for the enhancement of desirable traits while minimizing undesirable ones. Mercy acknowledges the transformative potential of advances in genetic technologies, including genetic engineering and genomics, as game-changers in making precise and efficient improvements in breeding programs.

Progress in Molecular Genetic Techniques in Africa

Despite challenges, significant strides have been made in integrating molecular genetic techniques into research in Africa, particularly Nigeria. Technology has played a pivotal role in overcoming historical obstacles, and capacity-building initiatives have enhanced the skills of researchers and technicians, fostering a knowledgeable workforce.

Overcoming Cultural Biases

Mercy addresses prevalent cultural biases in Africa, emphasizing that such biases are universal. However, she notes the positive impact of increased accessibility to information and consistent efforts to overcome these barriers. Using her research as an example, she discusses the challenges of importing breeds for turkey production due to environmental differences, prompting a focus on optimizing local breeds through molecular genetic techniques.

Contributions to Food Security

Mercy’s research on indigenous turkey breeds has uncovered several growth traits with the potential to enhance body weight. The significance lies in incorporating these findings into the breeding process for local breeds, embodying desirable and robust growth. While promising, Mercy acknowledges that her research represents a step in the journey, underscoring the need for further exploration and practical application in the field.

Unlocking Food Security: Mercy Oso's Genetic Journey for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria

Illustrative Image: Unlocking Food Security: Mercy Oso’s Genetic Journey for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria
Image Source & Credit: Poultry World

Ultimate Goals

Personally, Mercy aims to contribute to the development of an improved local turkey breed characterized by hardiness, substantial body weight, and commercial viability. Bridging the gap between research findings and on-the-ground implementation is crucial for making substantial progress and addressing concerns related to food security. The envisioned outcome is a locally improved turkey breed that can significantly impact the poultry industry, contributing to sustainable agricultural practices and securing food resources. The key lies in dedication and consistency in efforts to fully harness the potential of genetic approaches in Nigeria.

Cite this article as (APA format):

AR Managing Editor (2023). Unlocking Food Security: Mercy Oso’s Genetic Journey for Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria. Retrieved from https://www.africanresearchers.org/unlocking-food-security-mercy-osos-genetic-journey-for-sustainable-agriculture-in-nigeria/

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