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Animal breeding

Our department is specialized in carrying out research and knowledge transfer activities to optimize genetic improvement programs in livestock and aquaculture species and conservation of native breeds.

​CRISTINA ÓVILO MARTÍN

​jefa departamento

Ubicación

​Ctra. de La Coruña, km 7,5, 28040 Madrid

Noticia

The main activities of our department are focused on the genetic improvement of livestock and aquaculture species and the conservation of native Spanish breeds. For these goals, we combine our experience in classical quantitative genetics with the latest genome analysis technologies.

In particular, the new -omics technologies, which include high-throughput genotyping, gene expression, massive sequencing and metabolome platforms, generate information that allows a much more detailed and accurate analysis of the genetic and metabolic basis of those traits that are important to improve or to conserve.

Productivity, efficiency, animal welfare and resilience to climate change and diseases are key characteristics for the sector, representing the basis of our research.

Molecular biology labs are available at the department, as well as access to supercomputing resources. The department has the facilities and animals conserved at “El Encín" farm (Alcalá de Henares) and the Center for Research and Development on Iberian Pig (Zafra). Besides, INIA also owns the Iberian pig herd maintained at the farm “Dehesón del Encinar" (Oropesa, Toledo).

Research

Our research lines are grouped into four thematic areas, which include:

- Quantitative genetics of complex traits. Study of the genetic basis of complex traits of interest in animal production, through the development and application of analysis, prediction and modelling methods.

- Genetics of conservation. Design and implementation of programs to maintain genetic variability and control the increase in inbreeding.

- Functional genomics. Study of the mechanisms of gene regulation involved in the development, production and adaptation of animals.

- Metagenomics. Improvement of production efficiency based on the study of the host's microbiota.

    Líneas de investigación:

    - Optimization of the design and management of breeding and conservation programs, combining classical quantitative genetic tools with molecular information.

    - Incorporation of new traits to animal genetic improvement schemes.

    - Genetic mapping and detection of QTL and candidate genes for productive, reproductive and adaptive and resilience traits.

    - Patterns of gene expression related to phenotypic, genetic or environmental characteristics.

    - Development of statistical methodology for genomic evaluation and its application in livestock and aquaculture.

    - Nutritional genomics: Interactions between diet, gene expression, genotype and phenotype.

    - Traceability of racial origin.

    - Control of inbreeding and of the loss of genetic variability in selection and conservation programs.

    - Production of eggs of quality in indigenous breeds of chickens as an alternative to industrial production.

    - Identification of indicators of animal welfare and stress tolerance.

     -Theoretical and practical evaluation of the consequences of selection for productive traits on animal fitness and welfare.

    - Relationship of the microbiota with productive aspects and environmental sustainability.​

​Instalaciones

​The department has five molecular biology laboratories with equipment for extraction and quantification of nucleic acids, PCR and quantitative PCR and long-read sequencers with Nanopore technology. Given the huge amount of genomic data generated in our projects, we have access to resources for bioinformatic analysis through the Center for Supercomputing of Galicia (CESGA). The facilities linked to the department include “El Encín" Poultry Farm (Alcalá de Henares), where birds of native breeds are raised and maintained, and the Center for Research and Development in Iberian Pig (Zafra), where we develop tasks related with genetic improvement, food quality, traceability and determination of the breed origin in this pig breed.

El Encín Poultry Farm

​Conservation and genetic study of traditional Spanish chicken breeds.

National Center for Research and Development of the Iberian Pig Genetic improvement of Iberian pig breed with special attention to meat quality.​​

​Servicios y Recursos

    - Asesoramiento sobre el diseño y gestión de programas de mejora genética en especies ganaderas y de acuicultura

    - Asesoramiento sobre el diseño y gestión de programas de conservación en poblaciones animales amenazadas

    - Trazabilidad de origen racial (Ibérico, Duroc) en animales y productos porcinos mediante marcadores genéticos

     - Caracterización del microbioma animal

    - Suministro de ejemplares de un día de razas autóctonas de gallinas​

Recursos

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