The buffalo was domesticated around 3000-6000 years ago and has substantial economic significance as a meat, dairy, and draught animal. The buffalo has remained underutilized in terms of the development of a well-annotated and assembled reference genome de novo. It is mandatory to explore the genetic architecture of a species to understand the biology that helps to manage its genetic variability, which is ultimately used for selective breeding and genomic selection. Morphological and molecular data have revealed that the swamp buffalo population has strong geographical genomic diversity with low gene flow but strong phenotypic consistency, while the river buffalo population has higher phenotypic diversity with a weak phylogeographic structure. The availability of recent high-quality reference genome and genotyping marker panels has invigorated many genome-based studies on evolutionary history, genetic diversity, functional elements, and performance traits. The increasing molecular knowledge syndicate with selective breeding should pave the way for genetic improvement in the climatic resilience, disease resistance, and production performance of water buffalo populations globally.
Keywords: buffalo; candidate genes; evolution and domestication; genome sequencing advancement; traits.