Summary

SMARTER will develop and deploy innovative strategies to improve Resilience and Efficiency (R&E) related traits in sheep and goats.

SMARTER will find these strategies by: i) generating and validating novel R&E related traits at a phenotypic and genetic level ii) improving anddeveloping new genome-based solutions and tools relevant for the data structure and size of small ruminant populations, iii) establishing new breeding and selection strategies for various breeds and environments that consider R&E traits . SMARTER with help from stakeholders chose several key R&E traits including feed efficiency, health (resistance to disease, survival) and welfare. Experimental populations will be used to identify and dissect new predictors of these R&E traits and the trade-off between animal ability to overcome external challenges. SMARTER will estimate the underlying genetic and genomic variability governing these R&E related traits. This variability will be related to performance in different environments including genotype-by-environment interactions (conventional, agro-ecological and organic systems) in commercial populations. The outcome will be accurate genomic predictions for R&E traits in different environments across different breeds and populations.

 

SMARTER will also create a new cooperative European and international initiative that will use genomic selection across countries. This initiative will make selection for R&E traits faster and more efficient. SMARTER will also characterize the phenotype and genome of traditional and underutilized breeds. Finally, SMARTER will propose new breeding strategies that utilise R&E traits and trade-offs and balance economic, social and environmental challenges. The overall impact of the multi-actor SMARTER project will be ready-to-use effective and efficient tools to make small ruminant production resilient through improved profitability and efficiency.

SMARTER is coordinated by INRA (Dr. Carole Moreno-Romieux) and assembles 27 partners from 13 different countries and has received a funding from the European Commission (through the H2020-SFS-15-2016-2017)) for a project period of 4 years (2018-22).