EU project supports rural herding communities via animal gene pool analysis
As Europe's urban population continues to grow and rural residents gradually migrate to cities, EU policy makers remain dedicated to ensuring that traditional agricultural systems remain intact. In an effort to better understand best practice strategies for citizens living in marginal rural areas, the EU funded the ECONOGENE project. ECONOGENE utilised the combined molecular analysis of biodiversity, socio-economics and geostatistics, so as to address the conservation of sheep and goat genetic resources, and also to preserve rural development in marginal agrosystems in Europe.
Through extensive observation, in situ testing and
interviews conducted with local farmers, the ECONOGENE partners
were able to introduce a map of development perspectives; this
identified areas where sustainable conservation of both economically
and ecologically valuable populations was most likely to succeed.
To communicate their results, the consortium produced a handbook, reviewing and designing methods that can serve to guide conservation policies for livestock breeds threatened by extinction.
The project was part of the Quality of Life theme in the EU's
Fifth Research Framework Programme, which incorporates Key Actions
aiming to enhance European citizens' quality of life,
and also to improve the competitiveness of European industry.
The project included participants from a total of nine EU countries.