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H2020 GEroNIMO : designing tomorrow's breeding in monogastrics

INRAE
Within the framework of the European Horizon 2020 program, teams from the Genetics Physiology and Farming Systems Unit (GenPhySE) of the Occitanie-Toulouse INRAE research center and GABI have been awarded 7 million euros over five years for the GEroNIMO project (Genome and Epigenome eNabled breedIng in MOnogastrics). This Europe-wide multi-actor participative project began in June 2021. It will promote studies on ways to improve genetic selection in animal breeding and to conserve genetic and epigenetic diversity, in order to provide new knowledge and perspectives to stakeholders, while taking into account current issues associated with sustainable development.

In order to cope with a growing human population, increasing environmental constraints and the evolution of socio-cultural values, livestock breeding must move towards a more sustainable model while guaranteeing production. This can be achieved by promoting an efficient use of resources, by improving the health and well-being of animals and by ensuring the preservation of genetic diversity.

New technologies for sustainable breeding

 

With the recent developments of the so-called "omics" technologies (genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, etc.), it is now possible to evaluate the relevance of enriching selection models with non-genetic inheritance factors. To do this, it is worth building on the continuous gain in knowledge on genome-phenome relationships, which takes genetic and non-genetic mechanisms that affect traits into account.

A large number of animals from cosmopolitan and local breeds will be studied in different environments to:

  1.  Identify the underlying biological mechanisms that affect trait variation,
  2.  Develop methods to improve selection strategies that integrate genetic and non-genetic factors,
  3.  Propose strategies to optimize the conservation of genetic and epigenetic diversity.

This program aims at helping livestock stakeholders move towards selection schemes that are better adapted to local needs while taking environmental issues into account. This should allow for optimal production, both in terms of quality and quantity, by combining current "environmental, economic and societal" issues.

A participatory and multi-actor approach as close as possible to the field

GEroNIMO promotes demand-driven innovation through the direct participation of breeders and animal production associations on a European scale. In addition to the implementation of specific protocols, it aims at enhancing existing knowledge, both at the academic and industrial levels, by combining existing data from academic partners on the mechanisms underlying trait variation, with the existing functional genomic knowledge from other programs, as well as large-scale production data from the pig and poultry industries. One of the objectives is to co-construct, with all stakeholders, large-scale phenotypic, genetic and epigenetics datasets that will allow to test hypotheses about the role of non-genetic determinism in trait variation.
GEroNIMO promotes demand-driven innovation through the direct participation of breeders and animal production associations on a European scale. In addition to the implementation of specific protocols, it aims at enhancing existing knowledge, both at the academic and industrial levels, by combining existing data from academic partners on the mechanisms underlying trait variation, with the existing functional genomic knowledge from other programs, as well as large-scale production data from the pig and poultry industries. One of the objectives is to co-construct, with all stakeholders, large-scale phenotypic, genetic and epigenetics datasets that will allow to test hypotheses about the role of non-genetic determinism in trait variation.
 Key figures of the project

  • Beginning: 06/2021
  • Length: 5 ans
  • 5 INRAE units implicated: GenPhySE, GABI, PEGASE, PEAT and Sigenae
  • Cost : 7 M€
  • Partners: 21
  • European countries represented: 11

See also