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The main objective of this proposal is the creation of a critical mass of researchers and  technicians in the context of the European-Nears Eastern countries specialized in the conservation  and use of the cattle genetic heritage for sustainable practices of rural development. It will be  implemented under four key strategies:
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  use of local cattle breeds, with special remarks on molecular and genomic technologies.

2.- Organization of a three level training course: capacity building, graduate and  postgraduate. All focused on three subject directly related to our main objective:
- Fundamentals of the genetic conservation and improvement of local cattle breeds.
- Molecular and genomic tools applicable in the conservation and improvement of  local cattle breeds.
- Transference 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 genomic technologies in the characterization, conservation, improvement  and use of local cattle breeds. It will take place by means of a Master and PhD training  using excellence programs such as " Zootechnique and sustainable management" in the University of Cordoba (Spain); advanced post-graduate courses and local training in INRB' (Portugal) and "Characterization of local cattle breeds" in the University of Ain Shams (Egypt). This will imply the movement of students and professors among the nations  involved.

4.- Creation of a training platform on the Internet. We will create an interactive platform in a specific Internet dominium, where the contents of the training courses will be  permanently updated. The objective is to have a grounding to develop "long distance "courses to spread the contents of this proposal as far as possible.

Universidad de Córdoba

1. To favor the building capacity of high level groups of young researchers from the Iberian Peninsula and Egypt on the methodologies applied for the better management of local cattle  breeds.

2. Creation of a permanent network of research groups.

3. Upgrading building capacity.

Creation of a permanent network of research groups.
Our first task will be the identification of research groups already working in the conservation and genetic improvement of local cattle breeds in Portugal, Spain and Egypt. The basic core of the  network will be made up of the groups integrated in the consortium involved in the proposal. They will be responsible for the design and development of an inquiry to list the characteristics of the research groups of every nation involved in the proposal. 

We intend to ensure the sustainability of the network after the end of the project, so that other members and groups can be invited to integrate the network.
The main objective of this network will be the development of training materials regarding the local reality in the subjects of conservation and genetic improvement of local cattle breeds. Presently most of the information used in the training centers of the Mediterranean area is of general nature and not particularly specific to the region. It is necessary to carry out the identification, organization and dissemination of local materials to improve the quality of the local human resources dedicated to the aforementioned activities.
This action will be developed during the first six months of the project.

Upgrading building capacity of human resources in applied methodologies for conservation and  improvement. In the previous two tasks a large quantity of teaching material will be put at the  disposal of all national partners regarding the objectives of conservation and genetic improvemen of local cattle breeds.
Two training courses on conservation, genetic improvement and valuation of local cattle breeds will be organized within the present project. The first one will be held during the 12th month of the project in Córdoba (Spain) and the second one during the 36th month in Santarem (Portugal).

1. General knowledge on genetic improvement and conservation of local cattle breeds (UCO)

2. Molecular and genomics tools in the genetic management of local cattle population to be conserved or improved (INRB)

3. Transfer of knowledge to the cattle subsector and the general public (UCO)

4. Executive Committe (UCO)

5. Financial Committe (UCO)

6. Ethical Committe (ASUA)

The three countries involved in the present proposal site in the
Mediterranean area. There is a very important historical parallelism among them as a result of
hundreds of years of common history during the Muslim occupation of the Iberian Peninsula.
A big part of our animal genetic resources have a common origin, firstly because of the
post-Neolithic dispersion of domestication in the Near East; and because of the migration of
civilizations to the Mediterranean area in later centuries.
Our cultural parallelisms are also relevant in our traditional management systems that,
especially in the southern region of Spain and in Portugal, characterize for long movements of
animals that look for seasonal pastures, and the traditional technologies and local products. These
facts are especially relevant regarding local cattle breeds.
The effect of globalization in the small farm economy will be catastrophic. In developed
countries producers will leave the farming activity and will receive subsidies that have no link to the
activity. However, in developing countries small producers will be condemned to live under the
poverty line, increasing the famine, which is quite the opposite of what is challenged with the
millennium development goals.
Our purpose is to increase the competitiveness of the small farmers, the family farms, by
means of increasing their knowledge on their own local cattle resources and their traditional
management systems. Notwithstanding, we will introduce new technologies regarding quantitative
genetics and molecular genetics (genomic tools) in the breeding and conservation plans of the
countries involved as largely as possible.
Education is a key subject to reach these objectives; training our scientist and technicians is
essential to get a deep sensitization on the possibilities of our own animal heritage as a source of
richness under the national tradition.
In another note, the dissemination of these ideas through the general public is a very
important issue. These are the consumers who must know what we are doing with their taxes, and
who must also know the reasons of overprices that are paid by those quality products of our own
The proposal is particularly relevant to Egypt in view the widespread of indiscriminate
crossing with European breeds, a practice which undermines the integrity of the local cattle breeds
and contribute to the erosion of valuable assets for present and future development.
The expected impact of the CATTLECON IKTA project is the construction of a
network of beneficial international research collaborations between two groups from two
different Member States (Spain and Portugal) and a Third Country (Egypt) covered by the
S&T agreement or by the European neighbourhood Policy.

Egypt is a paradigmatic country with a high representativeness at cultural level. Few
countries in the area have such a prestige in EU and especially in the European
Mediterranean countries.
Farming is part of the national culture, and the traditional management systems
share deep parallelisms among the Mediterranean countries.
Exchanges in sciences are common among countries from every side of the
Mediterranean; commercial exchanges are also very important.
There is much cultural exchange between Spain and Egypt and there are many
among the Egyptian intelligentsia who got their advanced academic degrees in Spain.
University of Ain Shams in Egypt is signatory to a cultural exchange agreement with the
University of Cordoba since a few years back and this agreement could be activated on
signing this proposal. Our intention if to stimulate the increasing of the aforementioned
cooperation but paying special attention on the small producers which maintain the local
cattle breeds and the old management systems as a source of richness supported in the
criteria regarding food security and food sovereignty.
Seminars, training courses and the exchange of researchers are designed with a
clear vocation of sustainability. We are creating solid structures to create, develop and
maintain a scientific critic mass to use the local cattle breeds and their management
systems to ensure a better future for the small Mediterranean cattle farmers.
These structures will offer an updated knowledge to the cattle subsector. It will allow
the constant modernization of these productive activities, and will influence the
administrations in the designation of national policies of rural development.
The experience of the staff involved the laboratorial abilities, the relationship with
the sector, the clear objectives, the Mediterranean vocation and the sensitization in favour
of the local cattle genetic resources will ensure a good and permanent cooperation among
the European countries involved in this proposal and the third partner country.

Mejora genética y conservación de razas autóctonas

Code PAIDI: AGR 218

Juan Vicente Delgado Bermejo. Coordinator. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 131,400.00

  • Universidad de Córdoba
Keywords: cattle, conservation gnetics, transference of knowledgment
Duration: 24 months. July, 30th 2011 to May, 30th 2013
Project cost: € 172,800.00