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Design and management of selection and conservation programmes

Our research is focused on optimising the design and the management of genetic improvement and conservation programmes for farmed animals, including aquaculture species. Using computer simulations and analysis of genomic data, we evaluate new methods of selection and inbreeding control.​

Grupo de investigación dependiente del

Animal Genetics Departament

In a selection programme, the objective is to maximise the genetic progress of economically important traits, but imposing restrictions on the rate at which inbreeding increases. The control of inbreeding is necessary to avoid or alleviate the reduction in viability and fertility (a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression), which may eventually make genetic progress impossible despite the presence of genetic variance for traits under selection.

In a conservation program focused on threatened populations, the objectives are to maximize genetic variability and control inbreeding for alleviating inbreeding depression.

Both genetic selection and inbreeding control can greatly benefit from the use of genomic tools.

The main objective of our group is to develop methodologies for optimizing the design and management of selection and conservation programmes in farmed animals, using currently available genomic tools.

In recent years we have developed an important activity in genetic improvement programmes of aquaculture species. Furthermore, our group is a pioneer in the use of technologies to guarantee the maintenance and sustainable use of threatened populations.

Our group carries out research projects on a variety of terrestrial (cattle, sheep and pigs) and aquatic (Atlantic salmon, turbot, seabream, seabass, common carp, rainbow trout and shrimp) species. Our research is based on analyses of empirical data and computer simulations.

In particular, we are interested in:

Genetic diversity within and between populations.

Determination of population structure.

Estimation of genomic coancestry between individuals.

Estimation of genomic inbreeding.

Estimation of current and historical effective population size.

Detection of genomic regions controlling traits of interest

Resistance to diseases, sexual determination, growth. 

Optimisation of the design of genetic improvement programmes.

Creation of base populations

New breeding objectives (disease resistance, feed efficiency, fillet yield, product uniformity).

Prediction of genetic gain and inbreeding with different selection methods.

Genomic selection

Prediction of genetic gain and inbreeding with different mating systems.

Methods to maximise genetic gain while restricting the rate of inbreeding.

​Development of strategies to control inbreeding and loss of genetic variability.

Optimisation of contributions using genomic relationship matrices.


Coordinador de Grupo

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