Our main objective is to promote the utilization of autochthonous breeds of monogastrics through characterization and investigation of their production efficiency. Our research is specifically focused on phenotypic and genetic characterization of feed efficiency, resilience, and sustainability of autochthonous breeds of laying hens and pigs in the context of climate change. Understanding the production efficiency and resilience of local breeds is essential for identifying their contribution to the sustainable production of proteins of animal origin. Our group members are educated in livestock breeding and genetics; however, sustainability and resilience is investigated multidisciplinary, including aspects of nutrition, reproduction, and animal behavior and welfare. We cooperate with national and international research teams and are open to new collaborations.
Specifically, the objectives of our group are:
- Scientific management of the Genetic Resources Conservation and Investigation Program of Spanish chicken breeds at “El Encín” (Alcalá de Henares, Madrid). Created in 1975, this program leaders the conservation and expansion of breed genetic material of Spanish breeds of laying hens. Currently, the “in vivo” conservation program includes 12 Spanish breeds.
- Phenotypic and genetic background of feed efficiency with an emphasis on autochthonous pig and chicken breeds.
- Phenotypic and genetic background of animal resilience with an emphasis on autochthonous pig and chicken breeds. Phenotypic and genetic characterization of autochthonous breeds of laying hens included in the Genetic Resources Conservation and Investigation Program, with an emphasis on genetic sexing of one-day-old chicks, external and internal egg quality, and evaluation of stress resistance and animal welfare.
- Sustainability of poultry production systems using autochthonous breeds of laying hens.
- Detection of genotypes in local breeds of laying hens with higher resilience that can be used in crossbreeding of commercial with local breeds, combining the beneficial alleles of high production with improved resilience.
- The use of autochthonous breeds in sustainable mixed production systems, combining pig or chicken production with the production of local feed resources (e.g., local legumes).
- Development of statistical methods and analysis of genetic information resulting from the use of molecular techniques, including genotyping with microarrays, RNA expression, and DNA sequencing.
- Conservation and management program of red partridge (la perdiz roja).
- Animal behavior and welfare of chickens and pigs.