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Animal production and sustainability

Animal production and sustainability

Study, development and application of reproductive management techniques to increase production and sustainability, facilitating both in situ and ex situ conservation, through the establishment of germplasm banks, mainly of domestic breeds and wildlife species in danger of extinction or of a special interest .

Grupo de investigación dependiente del

Animal reproduction Department

The objectives are based on the optimization of protocols for obtaining, designing and applying methods of in vitro viability determination and cryopreservation of gametes and embryos, as well as the application of all these technologies for the creation and maintenance of an animal genetic resource bank of different wild species and indigenous breeds in danger of extinction.

In addition, studies are carried out on the different factors that modulate reproductive activity and developmental and application works of reproductive management techniques, with the final aim of increasing production and helping both, in situ and ex situ conservation.

The main research lines are:

  • Ex situ conservation of indigenous breeds and wild species in danger of extinction through the creation and maintenance of animal genetic resources banks.
  • Optimization of protocols for obtaining, isolation, characterization and cryopreservation of gametes, embryos and somatic cells.
  • Application of the biobank in the in vitro development of biological, genetic, toxicological and epidemiological studies that allow, among others, the prevention and control of relevant epizooties.
  • Application of reproductive management techniques to increase production and promoting both in situ and ex situ conservation.
  • Studies on individual, herd and environmental parameters for the optimization of the sustainability (economic, social and environmental) of production systems.​


The research team develops projects related to animal production and the conservation of native breeds (or of a special interest breeds), and threatened wild species.

The laboratory of Semen Cryopreservation and Germplasm Bank (GRB) coordinates the maintenance and management of the animal Genetic Resources Bank of the Department and develops works on the design and implementation of reproductive technologies in both, domestic and wild threatened populations.At the same time, studies are being carried out to improve the evaluation of the quality of cryopreserved seminal doses and to optimize freeze-thaw protocols for seminal doses conservation on different species.

The laboratory of Livestock Reproduction is working in studies on the interaction between the environment, productive systems, nutritional and reproductive management, and individual characteristics of the animals with the productive efficiency in ruminant animal production. All this in the context of collaborations with professionals from the sector and European livestock farmers.

The Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Reproduction laboratory is generating a bank of genetic resources for the ex situ conservation of European mink (Mustela lutreola) thanks to the isolation of primary cultures from different tissues of specimens found dead in the different breeding centers as well as wild specimens. The European mink is included in the red list of endangered species in the category of "critically endangered" by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature); it is considered a priority species of community interest, included in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive by the European Union; and it appears as an endangered species in Spain.


Animal production and sustainability Members

Coordinador de Grupo

  • Aitor Fernández Novo
    Mejora en los sistemas de manejo reproductivo y productivo en ganaderías de bovino españolas. Factores determinantes (2021)
    Dirección: Juan Vicente González Martín, Susana Astiz Blanco y Sonia S. Pérez Garnelo | INIA-CSIC. Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Management of the Animal Genetic Resources Bank of the Animal Reproduction INIA's Department since 2004 until now.
  • Expert advisers of the VART (Bull breeding soundness evaluation) group.
  • Collaborative Working Group SCAR of Sustainable Animal Production (CWG-SAP).
  • Teaching:
    • Collaboration with the Department of Medicine and Animal Surgery of Veterinary Medicine Faculty of the Complutense University of Madrid.
    • Participation as teachers in the Master's Degree in Biology and Reproduction Technology in Mammals at the University of Murcia.
    • Coordination of the on-line course of Specialists in Bovine Reproduction (ANEMBE) and participation in theoretical and practical teaching.
    • Organization of the University Master's Degree in Veterinary Clinical Trials (European University of Madrid,,. and participation in theoretical and practical teaching.
  • Vice Presidency (2017 and 2018) and Presidency (since 2019) of the European College of Bovine Herd Health Medicine (ECBHM). Susana Astiz Blanco.
  • Organization of the IV Conference on Ruminants Medicine in the Canary Islands in 2019.
  • 15 SCI publications; 20 publications in national journals; 1 book chapter; 15 communications to national congresses and 14 to international congresses (2015-2019).

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