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Final Report Summary - CATTLECON IKTA (Improving, transference and applicability of knowledge in conservation and characterization technologies in cattle breeds from Egypt and the Iberian Peninsula)


Executive Summary:

Throughout the whole project duration the Portuguese researchers involved in the project have worked hard to resolve the administrative problems that resulted due the transfer of the Portuguese coordinator researcher from the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos to the University of Lisbon. Finally the complexity of this administrative change at the Portuguese National level had compromised all the actions planned involving Portugal. The Portuguese participation was not possible.

In regards to the participation of the Egyptian and the Spanish teams, the planned actions were mostly accomplished. Only the travel programmed for the Egyptian Project Coordinator was not executed due to serious health reason suffered by him as will be explained later.

Some of the other research travels planned in the Project Annex were slightly adjusted, in some cases, they were shortened because of problems with the visa issuance, in others for the substitution of the researcher as will be justified and explained in the following sections.

Apart from these negative incidences we can say that the Egyptian and the Spanish accomplishments in the project CATTLECONIKTA were completed successfully, according to the objectives stated in the Project annexes and pointed out in the following list (notwithstanding what pertains to Portugal):

1. - Creation of a permanent network of laboratories in Portugal, Spain and Egypt for the exchange and updating of information regarding the characterization, conservation and utilization of local cattle breeds, with special attention to molecular and genomic technologies.
2. - Organization of a three level training courses: capacity building, graduate and postgraduate have been executed. All focused on the three subjects directly related to the project main objectives:
2.1- Fundamentals of the genetic conservation and improvement of local cattle breeds,
2.2- Molecular and genomic tools applicable in the conservation and improvement of local cattle breeds,
2.3- Transfer of knowledge to the cattle subsector, taking into account concepts of food security and food sovereignty.
3. - High level training of researchers on the topics related to the use of new molecular and genomics technologies in the characterization, conservation, improvement and use of local cattle breeds.
4. - Creation of a training platform on the Internet.During the second year (second period) of the project, some the activities started in the first year were continued along with others planned for the second period. In the following paragraphs these actions will be described organized by every objectives mentioned above.

Objective 1:

• During the first the creation of a permanent national networks of research groups involved in the project objectives have been completed in Spain and Egypt, but not in Portugal. All the centers which have shown interest in the integration in the permanent structure have been registered and personally visited by the International coordinator of the project.
• During the second period, the permanent national networks of research groups involved in the project objectives created during the first period in Spain and Egypt have been consolidated in the present period, but in Portugal they were not able to complete this objective because of the problems previously mentioned.
• Both operative networks were set up and disseminated in the project web page, and several initiatives on animal genomics in cattle and other species are being developed using this permanent platform.

Objective 2:

• In the first period two training courses for graduates and postgraduates have been developed. The first titled “Training Postgraduate Course on Conservation of Cattle Genetic Resources”. It was held in Cordoba (Spain) during 19th-30th/03/2012. This course enclosed the contents related to the sub-objectives 2.1 and 2.3. Second course titled “Molecular Markers Applied to Livestock Conservation” was held in Cordoba (Spain) during 2nd-13th/04/2012, including the contents related to the subojective 2.2.
• In this second period two training courses for graduates and postgraduates have been delivered. The first titled “Training Postgraduate Course on Conservation of Cattle Genetic Resources”. It was held in Ain Shams University Cairo (Egypt) during 8th-19th/07/2012. This course covered the topics related to sub-objectives 2.1 and 2.3., which are coincident with those presented in the University of Córdoba during the first period.
• Second course titled “Molecular Markers Applied to Livestock Conservation” was held in Ain Shams University, Cairo (Egypt) during 9th-20th/04/2012, covering the subjects related to the subjective 2.2.
• In respect to the capacity building and the transfer to the sector two lectures were delivered by Dr. Delgado in this period during his stay in Cairo. Both were located in different learning centers in order to maximize the dissemination of the project in the country. Lecture titled “Conservation and Utilization of the Farm Animal Genetic Resources” was presented in Cairo University (Cairo - Egypt) on June, 27th, 2012 and also in Alexandria University on July 04, 2012. Attendance of these two lectures was more than one hundred.
• Under Sub objective 2.3, in the first period two Spanish PhD students have started in December, 2011, research stays of one year in the University of Ain Shams. Their work was centered in studies around biodiversity and genetic relations among Egyptian local cattle breeds and Iberian ones. In the second period, high level training, the project activities have been very intense. Most of the travels of research students and staff between Spain and Egypt defined in the Annexes were accomplished successfully, but as we have pointed out before, all travels involving Portuguese researchers or receiving in Portugal Spanish or Egyptian researchers were not possible. One Spanish PhD student (Mayra Gómez) has completed her research travel which had started in December 2011 in November 2012 in the University of Ain Shams the other student (Sergio Nogales) returned to Spain before the end of the period because of his inability to adapt to Cairo and was substituted by another student (Olidia Anchundia) to complete the works ongoing in both centers on biodiversity and genetic relations among local Egyptian cattle breeds and Spanish ones. One paper is presently in preparation, using the information generated during these travel periods.
• Three travel periods involving Spanish staff were completed in this period. The Spanish National coordinator (Dr. J.V. Delgado) who stayed for two months at Ain Shams University, participating in several courses, lectures, meetings, visits to research centers, transfer to the sector activities, etc. Also, the administrative meetings relating to economic and ethical committees were carried out in this travel period from June to the end of July, 2012.
• Another member of the Staff (Dr. José Manuel Perea) spent a stay at Aim Shams University as an experienced researcher. His participation was centered on the economic aspects of the cattle breeding, disseminating this knowledge in training courses and meetings. This stay was held between June 1 and July 31, 2012.
• The third Spanish Staff Member (Dr. Antón Martínez) stayed for six months as an experienced Researcher (July 1 to December 31, 2012). During this period he participated in regular teaching at Ain Shams University, met with its staff, covered some topics in the training courses, and participated in the construction and development of the web page and other mechanisms of dissemination of the project contents.
• With respect to the travels by Egyptian researchers and staff members, we have to point out that the travel by of the Egyptian Coordinator (Dr. Galal) was not possible because of serious health problems certified by a medical certificate). Even though from his location in the University of Aim Shams his participation was essential for the project management and coordination at all levels. He also participated in the course “Training Postgraduate Course on Conservation of Cattle Genetic Resources” held at Ain Shams University Cairo (Egypt) during 8th-19th/07/2012, covering topics on utilization of animal genetic resources.
• As was pointed out in the first period report, the training platform was performed through the project web page (https://sites.google.com/site/cattleconikta/). All training material used in the training courses, conferences, publications, etc have been/are being used by staff, and students of the entire project consortium, but also for the Master and PhD students of the Universities of Córdoba and Aim Shams, and for the general scientific community at large.


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