SMARTER Third Annual Meeting!
– by R. Rupp
SMARTER has held the third annual meeting from 11th to 22nd of October 2021, once again by video conference because of the COVID crisis. The agenda for the remote SMARTER included 3-hours meetings per WPs with 17 to 56 participants each. The meeting gave an overview of the great work achieved during the third year of the project. Despite the sanitary crisis, many new research results were delivered recently, with 7 papers submitted in 2021. New results were presented on proxies and genetic parameters for feed efficiency, feed intake and methane emission (WP1) and for resilience traits (health such as parasite resistance, immune response and mastitis, behavior, well-being, longevity and lethal mutations) (WP2) in sheep and goat. First results from trade-off experiments created in SMARTER (milk production dairy sheep line, goat longevity lines, residual feed efficiency sheep lines) were delivered (WP3). The experiments feed two allocation models in sheep and goat (WP3 and WP7). Additionally, a method for characterising resilience based on short time responses to infection was proposed (WP3). New methods for maintaining genetic diversity in genetic conservation programs were evaluated (WP5). Also, the general use of method LR (“Linear Regression”) for evaluating bias and accuracy in small ruminant genetics was endorsed (WP5). International Evaluation in sheep and goats (WP6) has progressed. Indeed, first analyses of across-country merged data were achieved in western Pyrenean Dairy Sheep (Spain and France) and in Saanen and Alpine goats (Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland). Moreover, harmonization and wider international cooperation is being promoted by multi-lingual questionnaire that were widely shared among partners. WP4 (genetic diversity) and WP7 (balancing breeding goal) consolidate their data collection and methods before analyses can progress. Several of the new results were presented during the EAAP meeting in Davos. Five theatre presentations and two posters were undertaken by four SMARTER partners (INRAE, INIA-UY, AUTH and FiBL/QUALITAS…) All the presentations will be available on SMARTER website.
The majority of SMARTER Consortium agreed to ask for an 8-month extension (end June 2023) to allow partners to better consolidate and integrate results that were delayed because of the COVID-19 crisis. We hope that the roundtables with stakeholders (WP9) can take place in 2022 (within each country) as initially planned, as well as a face-to-face meeting in Leon before summer.