The Quest for Genes Involved in Adaptation to Climate Change in Ruminant Livestock
Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition—DIANA, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense, 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-Food and Forest Systems–DIBAF, Università Della Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis snc, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Research Center on Biodiversity and Ancient DNA—BioDNA, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense, 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
Laboratory of Geographic Information Systems (LASIG), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Impacts on Agriculture, Forests and Ecosystem Services (IAFES) Division, Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo Sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), Viale Trieste 127, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Nutrigenomics and Proteomics Research Center—PRONUTRIGEN, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense, 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gustavo Gandini and Jesús Fernández
Received: 19 August 2021 / Revised: 21 September 2021 / Accepted: 23 September 2021 / Published: 28 September 2021
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.