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Breeding livestock for resilience and efficiency
Deadline: Sep 13, 2016  

 Genetic Resources
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

While increasing focus is placed on the efficiency of animal production, animal production systems also need to be resilient, at both animal and system level. For animals, this resilience needs to apply to their welfare, as well as their health. Systems may make use of local, multipurpose breeds and/or highly productive breeds and the genetic variation within breeds could be used more effectively. Enhancing animals’ ability to overcome endemic and emerging diseases and nutritional, reproductive or environmental challenges will help them stay healthy and productive, i.e. increase their resilience, as a result of being better suited to their living conditions. Progress here will be key to improving resilience traits and other traits that are important for a sustainable livestock sector. The challenge for livestock breeding is to address the need for efficiency and the need for resilience, and to manage trade-offs. To accelerate progress on these issues, it is important to develop improved tools to identify, exploit and measure important genomic and phenotypic characteristics of resilience and efficiency.


The research will focus on breeding terrestrial livestock for improved resilience and efficiency. It will target efficiency and resilience related traits and possible links between them (synergies, trade-offs) to address balanced breeding goals in an agro-ecological way. Research activities should assess and exploit the potential of underutilised genetic resources (other breeds, traditional breeds and crossbreeds). The projects should address the wide genetic variation among bovine breeds linking beef cattle over dual-purposed cattle to more specialized dairy cattle and link with other EU initiatives in the cattle dairy sector (scope A, 2016) or small ruminants and/or monogastrics (scope B, 2017). Activities will further develop tools/systems/statistical methods to measure phenotypes and assess the feasibility of schemes for improving targeted livestock. Coverage of both conventional and organic sectors is expected. Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'[[See definition of the 'multi-actor approach' in the introduction to this Work Programme part.]]. Projects should ensure appropriate dissemination to the breeding sector and other relevant stakeholders to facilitate the uptake of results.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 7 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Scope A will be covered in 2016 and scope B in 2017.

Expected Impact:

Projects should generate tools able to accurately link genomics data from farm animals to efficiency- and resilience-related traits in order to help exploit the full potential of the growing amount of recently generated genomics data. They will translate genomic information to facilitate predictive biology of efficiency- and resilience-related traits and test the new concepts in genomic selection. They will promote diversity-rich livestock breeding. More generally and in the longer term, outputs and results will help increase resilience of livestock production, including organic production, to more variable environments, while securing productivity.

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