For the past three years, researchers at the RVC (led by Prof Claire Wathes, and Prof Dirk Werling) have been involved in an European Union FP7 funded project, entitled “GplusE”: Genotype and Environment contributing to the sustainability of dairy cow production systems through the optimal integration of genomic selection and novel management protocols based on the development and exploitation of genomic data and supporting novel phenotyping approaches. It is a five-year project which started in January 2014 and is executed by 15 research and industry partners.
The end result of GplusE will be a comprehensive, integrated identification of genomic – phenotypic associations relevant to dairy production across Europe. This information will be translated into benefits for animal breeding and management that will considerably improve productivity, efficiency, animal health (by reducing for example anti-microbial usage), welfare and fertility in an environmentally sustainable way. It will also increase biological understanding of the mechanisms by which genotype, environment and their interaction influence performance of dairy cows.
These topics are very important for the Dairy Industry world-wide, as they will not only provide insight into how to produce milk in a more healthy and sustainable way, but will also show potential paths forward as to how we need to protect animals in the light of global warning.
The GplusE consortium has recently produced a short video, highlighting the impact of the work, which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nac7dofAr_M&t=79s