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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

Menu Logo Principal AgroParisTech Université Paris-Saclay SAPS - Sciences Animales Paris-Saclay


GABI : Génétique Animale et Biologie IntégrativeUnité Mixte de Recherche INRA - AgroParisTech

Synergy between research and genetic improvement

Even though the activities of the Animal Genetics division have always taken genetic improvement in strong consideration, the division has also continuously aimed at establishing a synergy between research and genetic improvement. This strategy has been positive for research, creating favorable conditions for its development.

Our research projects on genetic evaluation have led to real progress in statistics, for example in the analysis of discrete traits, heterogenous variances and chronological series or in survival analysis with impacts in various fields. Another example i.e. the national databases located at the CTIG, which are an important source of information, permitting the analysis of genetic variability of traits and research of major genes and QTL, the search for genotype x environment interactions, and the analysis of genetic diversity and population dynamics. Within a more multidisciplinary framework, they contribute to studies in epidemiology or production systems. Generally, they make up a kind of high-throughput phenotyping in terms of animal number, even if the information per animal is inevitably limited. They give access to extreme animals: for example, lines for hyperprolific animals or with chromosomal defects inducing hypoprolificacy in pig were created using the Sow Herd Technical Management Database. The evaluations based on these large databases are the most efficient (and probably the only way) to select for lowly heritable traits such as fertility or disease resistance. Several research methods have been directly associated with the national selection schemes: several divergently selected lines have been developed on experimental farms using extreme breeding animals selected from national populations (e.g. Holstein and Charolais bovine lines); many QTL detection programs have been developed and are amongst the most important in the world using our national databases; numerous schemes have been developed in testing stations (Qualvigene program on bovine meat quality for example) which is the only way, outside of the experimental herds, to phenotype animals for complex traits such as resistance to parasites or behaviour.

The bovine genomic selection program is also an example that illustrates the synergy between research and applications: this program provides much information to scientists (phenotypes, genotypes for many markers, DNA samples) on large numbers of the main dairy cattle breeds, which are a unique resource for QTL characterisation. This is an important anchor for professional users and financing bodies that accompanies innovation.

In return, beyond genetic evaluations, many applications derived from these researches have been proposed to breeders.