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The ECONOGENE project is funded by the European Union within the Quality of Life V framework programme, a programme that comprises six Key actions aiming to enhance the quality of life of European citizens and to improve the competitiveness of European industry. ECONOGENE fits in Key action 5 "Sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry, and integrated development of rural areas including mountain areas", thematic area 5.1.1 "Sustainable Agriculture".

ECONOGENE combines a molecular analysis of biodiversity, socio-economics and geostatistics to address the conservation of sheep and goat genetic resources and rural development in marginal agrosystems in Europe. To assist in situ conservation and address the relevant socio-economic factors, a co-ordinated approach will be developed to define strategies of genetic management and rural development. Knowledge of sheep and goat genetic diversity will be greatly extended at the molecular level, examining many unstudied, local breeds, and identifying gene pools to map conservation priorities. A map of development perspectives will be produced, to identify areas where sustainable conservation of valuable populations could succeed. Maps of conservation and development priority will be overlayed and the value of biodiversity estimated, to justify economic intervention, and suggest appropriate guidelines and actions. The major objectives addressed in the project are as follows:

  • To extend previous knowledge of sheep and goat biodiversity using new molecular technologies and examining many unstudied marginal breeds (50 sheep and 40 goats);
  • to investigate geographic patterns of genetic variation with and without the classification of breeds and populations;
  • to identify populations deserving high conservation priority and to map conservation priorities;
  • to investigate the socio-economic conditions where these breeds are raised, constructing a map of development perspectives;
  • to identify areas where the sustainable conservation of the most valuable populations has a high chance of success, overlaying the maps of conservation priority and development perspectives;
  • to obtain an estimate of the economic value of biodiversity for these species, in order to justify specific management or conservation actions from an economic point of view;
  • to suggest guidelines and actions for an economically viable conservation of local breeds.
Resp. : Prof. P. Ajmone Marsan, Institute of Zootechnics, UCSC, Piacenza, Italy
Ed. : S.Joost, LASIG,
EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland / Institute of Zootechnics, UCSC, Piacenza, Italy
Last update of this page : 12.07.2012