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Review

The Quest for Genes Involved in Adaptation to Climate Change in Ruminant Livestock

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Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition—DIANA, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense, 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
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Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-Food and Forest Systems–DIBAF, Università Della Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis snc, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Research Center on Biodiversity and Ancient DNA—BioDNA, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense, 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
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Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
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Impacts on Agriculture, Forests and Ecosystem Services (IAFES) Division, Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo Sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), Viale Trieste 127, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
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Nutrigenomics and Proteomics Research Center—PRONUTRIGEN, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense, 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Equal contribution.
Academic Editors: Gustavo Gandini and Jesús Fernández
Animals 2021, 11(10), 2833; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102833
Received: 19 August 2021 / Revised: 21 September 2021 / Accepted: 23 September 2021 / Published: 28 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Genetic Resources Conservation: From Optimal to Feasible)
After domestication in specific regions, livestock followed human migrations and colonized the whole world. During this population expansion, human and natural selection, together with demographic events, molded the livestock genome leading to local breeds and populations able to produce milk, meat, wool and tractive power in many different agro-climatic conditions. The climate is changing, with temperatures and the frequency of extreme climatic events increasing, which affects livestock welfare and production efficiency, particularly of the highly productive breeds. Genomics is now able to explore the DNA of local breeds adapted to extreme environments in search of genes carrying signatures of selection for adaptation. This review summarizes methods used to accomplish this task, giving examples of results achieved and perspectives for future breeding.
Livestock radiated out from domestication centres to most regions of the world, gradually adapting to diverse environments, from very hot to sub-zero temperatures and from wet and humid conditions to deserts. The climate is changing; generally global temperature is increasing, although there are also more extreme cold periods, storms, and higher solar radiation. These changes impact livestock welfare and productivity. This review describes advances in the methodology for studying livestock genomes and the impact of the environment on animal production, giving examples of discoveries made. Sequencing livestock genomes has facilitated genome-wide association studies to localize genes controlling many traits, and population genetics has identified genomic regions under selection or introgressed from one breed into another to improve production or facilitate adaptation. Landscape genomics, which combines global positioning and genomics, has identified genomic features that enable animals to adapt to local environments. Combining the advances in genomics and methods for predicting changes in climate is generating an explosion of data which calls for innovations in the way big data sets are treated. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are now being used to study the interactions between the genome and the environment to identify historic effects on the genome and to model future scenarios. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; livestock; adaptation climate change; livestock; adaptation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Passamonti, M.M.; Somenzi, E.; Barbato, M.; Chillemi, G.; Colli, L.; Joost, S.; Milanesi, M.; Negrini, R.; Santini, M.; Vajana, E.; Williams, J.L.; Ajmone-Marsan, P. The Quest for Genes Involved in Adaptation to Climate Change in Ruminant Livestock. Animals 2021, 11, 2833. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102833

AMA Style

Passamonti MM, Somenzi E, Barbato M, Chillemi G, Colli L, Joost S, Milanesi M, Negrini R, Santini M, Vajana E, Williams JL, Ajmone-Marsan P. The Quest for Genes Involved in Adaptation to Climate Change in Ruminant Livestock. Animals. 2021; 11(10):2833. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102833

Chicago/Turabian Style

Passamonti, Matilde M., Elisa Somenzi, Mario Barbato, Giovanni Chillemi, Licia Colli, Stéphane Joost, Marco Milanesi, Riccardo Negrini, Monia Santini, Elia Vajana, John L. Williams, and Paolo Ajmone-Marsan. 2021. "The Quest for Genes Involved in Adaptation to Climate Change in Ruminant Livestock" Animals 11, no. 10: 2833. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102833

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