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Lab Overview

 

The general goals of our laboratory are to: 1) develop and give support to characterization, conservation and genetic improvement programs in different breeds; 2) gain a better understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying production and quality traits in different livestock species. Therefore, our team combines very diverse areas of expertise, spanning from molecular and quantitative genetics to statistics and bioinformatics. The installed capabilities allow the implementation of research activities in different areas, including:

  • Characterization of the genetic diversity and structure of Creole cattle, horse, donkey, pig and goat breeds, published in various scientific journals and transferred to the local stakeholders.
  • In-depth analyses of meat, carcass and sensory traits in Iberian pigs, and investigation of the underlying genetic influences.  
  • Solid networking established with the stronger research groups working in characterization, conservation and management of animal genetic diversity, both in Europe and Latin America.

 

This work is carried-out in close collaboration with other CIISA groups, in particular the Animal Nutrition and Biotechnology, Animal Production Systems and Tropical Animal Production teams. In addition, cooperation ties are also established with other institutions of the University of Lisbon, including the Center for Environmental Biology of the Faculty of Sciences, and other research groups In Europe as well as in North and South America. Often, the research of our group is carried-out at the request of breeders associations, who are thus direct users of the research outputs.

 

Selected publications

1. Gama, L.T., M.C. Bressan, E.C. Rodrigues, L.V. Rossato, O.C. Moreira, S.P. Alves, R.J.B. Bessa. (2013). Heterosis for meat quality and fatty acid profiles in crosses among B. indicus and B. taurus finished on pasture or grain. Meat Science 93:98. 

2. Gama, L.T., Martínez-Martínez, A., Carolino, M.I., Landi, V., Delgado, J.V., Vicente, A.P., Vega-Pla, J.L., Cortés, O., Sousa, C.O., BIOPIG Consortium. 2013. Genetic structure, relationships and admixture with wild relatives in native pig breeds from Iberia and its islands. Genet. Sel. Evol. 45:18.

An in-depth analysis of pig genetic diversity in the Iberian Peninsula, demonstrating that native pig breeds reveal high levels of genetic diversity, a solid breed structure and a clear organization in well-defined clusters, some showing signs of admixture with wild pigs.

3. Ginja, C., L.T. Gama, O. Cortes, J.V. Delgado, S. Dunner, D García, V. Landi, I. Martín-Burriel, A. Martínez-Martínez, M.C.T. Penedo, C. Rodellar, P. Zaragoza, J. Cañon, BioBovis Consortium. (2013). Analysis of conservation priorities of Iberoamerican cattle based on autosomal microsatellite markers. Genetics, Selection and Evolution 45:35

4.  Piccoli, M.L., J. Braccini Neto, F.V. Brito, L.T. Campos, C.D. Bértoli, G.S. Campos, J.A. Cobuci, C.M. MacManus, J.O.J. Barcellos, L.T. Gama. (2014). Origins and genetic diversity of British cattle breeds in Brazil assessed by pedigree analyses. Journal of Animal Science, 92:1920-1930.

5. Martínez, A.M., L.T. Gama, J.V. Delgado, J. Cañón, M. Amills, C.B. Sousa, C. Ginja, P. Zaragoza, A. Manunza, V. Landi, N. Sevane and BioGoat Consortium. (2015). The Southwestern fringe of Europe as an important reservoir of caprine biodiversity. Genetics, Selection and Evolution. 47:86.

6. Gómez, M.M., L.T. Gama, J.M. León, J. Fernández, S. A. Attalla, J.V. Delgado. (2016). Genetic parameters for harmony and movements in Spanish-Arab horses estimated by REML and Bayesian procedures. Livestock Science 188:159-165.

7. Cortés, O., A.M. Martinez, J. Cañon, N. Sevane, L.T. Gama, C. Ginja, V. Landi, P. Zaragoza, N. Carolino, P. Sponenberg, A. Vicente, J.V. Delgado and the BioPig Consortium. 2016. Conservation priorities of Iberoamerican pig breeds and their ancestors based on microsatellite information. Heredity. 117:14-24.

8. Bressan, M. C., J. Almeida, J. Santos Silva, C. Bettencourt, O. Moreira, A. T. Belo, A. Francisco, L. T. Gama. (2016). Carcass characteristics and fat depots in Iberian and F1 Large White x Landrace pigs finished intensively or raised outdoors in oak-tree forests. Journal of Animal Science 94:2592–2602.

9. Cortés, O., J. Cañón, L.T. Gama, A.M. Martínez, J.V. Delgado, C. Ginja, L.M. Jiménez, J. Jordana, C. Luis, M.M. Oom, P. Sponenberg, P. Zaragoza, Biohorse Consortium and J.L.Vega-Plá. (2017). The legacy of Columbus in American horse populations. J. Animal Breeding and Genetics. 134:340-350

 

 Collaborations

Membership of the Conbiand network and close collaboration with its members on research work aimed at assessing the genetic diversity and structure of livestock breeds in Iberoamerica.

Membership of the Strategic Advisory Board of the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM).

Membership of the Ibero-American Programme on Science and Technology for Development (CYTED), participating as an expert member of its Agrofood Committee.

Participation in committees of PhD exams in Portugal and abroad (3 juris in Portugal, 4 in Spain, 1 in Brazil for the period considered).

 

 Outreach

Collaboration with various breeder associations in their selection and conservation programs.

Collaboration with the Administration (Ministry of Agriculture, Autonomous Regions, etc.) in the development of legislation and rules to be followed and applied at the national level and negotiated with the EU.

Participation in the stakeholders meeting of the IMAGE research project, discussing issues related to conservation of Animal Genetic Resources.

Invited talks given at international conferences and meetings in various countries.

 

Advanced Studies (PhD and MSc thesis)

Over the period considered, supervision of 7 MSc and 7 PhD students.