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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

Launching of the IMAGE European Project

Launching of the IMAGE European Project
The IMAGE project which stands for “Innovative Management of Genetic resources” is made up of 28 partners including four extra European institutions. Its main objective is to improve quality and to give added socio-economic value to the genetic resources conserved by cryobanks and biological resource centers for livestock. It is based on genomics and bioinformatics in order to obtain better characterizations of the resources and to rationalize their conservation.

Context and Stakes

IMAGE is an answer to the subject SFS-7-2014/2015 “Genetic resources and agricultural diversity for food security, productivity and resilience”. European states invest in cryobanks whose way of functioning should be standardized and whose quality and use should be improved, as a service to the development of sustainable farming. Access to these cryobanks by countries outside of Europe is encouraged. The experience acquired with the PIA CRB-Anim is an asset that allowed the Inra to take the initiative of responding to the subject SFS-7-2014/2015 and submitting a final project on June 12, 2015.


Initially launched in partnership with the WUR, the consortium has progressively grown and now includes 11 universities, 9 research institutions, 3 SME and 3 ONG from 14 European countries including the FAO, INRA Transfert but also two countries from North Africa (Egypt, Maracco) and two countries from South America (Argentina, Colombia). The project was accepted for a total budget of 7M€ and was launched on March 1, 2016. The program includes: one workpackage (WP) dedicated to the implication of the partners and socio-economic questions (coordinator : Austria), one WP dedicated to cryobank and CRB functioning (coordinator: the Netherlands), one WP aimed at reproduction biotechnologies in particular in chickens and pigs (coordinator: Inra), one WP aimed at production and the analysis of genomic data in particular for cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry (chicken)(coordinator: The Netherlands), one WP dedicated to data integration and making a toolbox available for farmers (coordinator: Italy), one WP aimed at methodology developments for population genetics (coordinator: Portugal) and one WP for management (Coordinators: Inra and Intra Transfert).
During the kick-off meeting, 50 participants came from 12 countries on May 19-20, 2016 in Paris. This gave each of the seven WP the chance to inform on their actions during the first year.


The expected impacts of IMAGE  are of three types:

  • Scientific: search for adaptive traits in local populations and identification of unfavorable variants responsible for inbreeding depression, prediction of gamete fertility  conserved in a cryobank;
  • Technological: stardardization of the methods used for placing samples in a cryobank and rationalization of the collections, ease with which users may access data;
  • Applied: methods for reintroducing diversity in populations, attribution of individuals or their products to a breed, development of new APA regulations.


Tixier-Boichard M., 2016. IMAGE: a project for animal genetic resources. Pan European Networks – Special report