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GeSPR Research Activities

GeSPR (Génétique et selection des petits ruminants) team is involved in quantitative genetic studies of small ruminants (meat sheep, dairy sheep, dairy goats, Angora goats). Our aims are to better understand genetic determinism of traits and to improve by selection traits of interest for small ruminant industry. Different approaches are developed to estimate genetic parameters, to search for QTL and causal mutations, to explore genetic diversity, to investigate and perform parental assignation, genetic evaluation and genomic selection.

The main topics of GeSPR team are genetic and genomic selections of traits of interest, with special emphasis on robustness:
- Efficiency of the use of feed resources in highly variable and fluctuating systems (climate change, promotion of forage and grass resources in agro ecology) : : feed intake and residual feed intake, metabolic plasticity (genetic capacity to mobilize and constitute body reserves), methane emissions
- Resistance to diseases including mastitis, paratuberculosis and gastro-intestinal parasitism
- Lamb survival : lamb fleece, lethal mutations and social behavior (mother-young relationship)
- Genomic selection: test of different methods of genomic prediction and imputation, integration of new genomic information in selection scheme (such as SNP for parentage assignation or major genes)
- Genetic evaluation: implementation of national genetic evaluations, inclusion of new traits, development of new models and softwares, determination of breeding goals based on technical and economic evaluations of selected traits.

Some other topics are genetic diversity, social behaviors (between flock-mates and human-animal relationships), fine milk composition (including protein content), milking ability, wool shedding ability, reproduction traits. There are also some more fundamental topics like DNA recombination pattern or epigenetic approaches.

GeSPR Team is involved in the ”Unité Mixte Techonologique about Genetic and Genomic management of Small Ruminants ”, a joint technological unit with the French Livestock Institute (idele) in order to perform applied research for sheep and goats breeding schemes and to facilitate transfer to breeder organisations .

GeSPR has access to several experimental facilities for goats and sheep (including Bourges, La Fage and Langlade experimental farms) and to national performance recording databases, which contributes to the creation of ambitious projects.