Elucidating the role of ruminant-associated microbiomes and their interplay with the host animal in early life and throughout fundamental life events (e.g. weaning, feed transitions and lactation) that are known to affect health, welfare and environmental efficiency in ruminant production systems. Rooted in the holobiont concept – the host and its associated microbiomes as a functional unit – HoloRuminant will use a holistic multi-omics approach to characterise the establishment and dynamics of microbiomes.
RUMIGEN aims to provide future breeding goals and programs, innovative genomic prediction methods and precision management tools to optimise long-term genetic improvement and maintenance of genetic diversity. Citizen acceptance and social reception are pivotal in the development of these methods and tools. The RUMIGEN-project will contribute to more ethical and socially acceptable breeding objectives that care for eco-systemic consequences and animal welfare.
Genome and Epigenome eNabled breedIng in MOnogastrics To face human population growth, increasing environmental constraints and changes in socio-cultural values, animal breeding must evolve toward a more sustainable model that guarantees production while promoting efficient resource use, animal health and welfare, and preserving genetic diversity. Thanks to recent developments in omics technologies, it is now possible to rethink breeding, taking advantage of improved knowledge on genome-to-phenome relationships that accounts for both genetic and non-genetic mechanisms controlling traits. GEroNIMO will work on chicken and pig, the most used sources of animal protein worldwide, to provide breeders with new knowledge and tools to promote innovative genome- and epigenome enabled selection methods for traits related to production (quantity and quality), efficiency, productive longevity, fertility, resilience and welfare. A large number of animals from cosmopolitan and local breeds will be characterized phenotypically, genetically and epigenetically under different environments to i) identify underlying biological mechanisms affecting trait variation, ii) develop methods to improve selection strategies integrating genetic- and non-genetic factors, and iii) propose strategies to optimize the conservation of genetic and epigenetic diversity. GEroNIMO proposes demand-driven innovation employing a multiactor approach through the involvement of breeders, professional associations of animal production, and scientists, engaged from the planning phase to the dissemination of results over Europe. GEroNIMO will build on existing academic and commercial knowledge and will analyze large populations to quantify the contribution of genetic and epigenetic variation in gene expression, trait variation and trade-offs between traits. GEroNIMO will also propose a comprehensive and enhanced characterization of diversity by integrating epigenetic diversity into conservation purposes, corresponding to a new integrated conservation strategy.