Meat production based on local beef breeds exploited in extensive grazing systems in less developed regions is an objective perfectly consistent with the priorities of the reformed CAP. Nevertheless, there is a great challenge for local beef breeds to ensure the production of quality meat in accordance to the consumer demands altogether with the sustain of the economic activity in these less favoured regions. Knowledge on minority local beef cattle breeds is very poor. A systematic research for the characterization of such breeds regarding their genetic potential for producing quality meat is warranted. In Spain, Portugal and France, there are a considerable number of local cattle breeds for which, there is little information on numbers, productivity, management system, genetic variability and carcass composition.
The objective is :
This proposal will describe from a multidisciplinary approach the above characteristics for 17 local breeds. Statistics on numbers, herds, productivity and management will be obtained by survey, the genetic structure of the breeds will be characterised by molecular genetic markers and analysis of growth performance, carcass and meat quality will be made in controlled studies.
Short description of the project :
The project will consist of three main parts:
- Characterization of the production systems. This will done through updating and
analyzing statistics, studying databases containing production traits records, and
evaluating breeding goals after grouping breeds exhibiting similar production
- Study of the genetic structure of breeds and their relationships through
molecular genetic markers. The genetic structure will be described in terms
of inter alia, gene flows, effective herd sizes, age structure, generation lenghts
and the evolution of inbreeding. A population analysis based upon data from
molecular markers will be carried out in each breed by studying a common
battery of fifteen microsatellites in 50 unrelated individuals randomly sampled;
- Analysis of growth performances, carcass and meat quality traits. A sufficient
number of individuals from each selected breed will be reared in similar conditions
to monitor growth rate. After slaughter, standard carcass measurements and
grading will be carried out. Meat quality will be assessed both by instrumental
measurements and trough a taste panel.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts