IMAGE (Innovative management of Animal Genetic Resources)

IMAGE (Innovative management of Animal Genetic Resources) aims to enhance the use of genetic collections and to upgrade animal gene bank management by further developing genomic methodologies, biotechnologies and bioinformatics for a better knowledge and exploitation of animal genetic resources.

IMAGE is a EU funded project of 4 years 2016-2020. IMAGE is coordinated by INRA France and is a comprehensive consortium with 28 partners from 18 countries, including 3 SMEs, 3 NGOs, FAO, 9 research institutions and 11 universities.

13 EU countries are involved, together with Switzerland and 4 non-European countries (Argentina, Colombia, Egypt and Morocco)

CGN/Wageningen Livestock Research contributes in particular to the WorkPackages (WP) 2, 3 and 6 of IMAGE.

WP2 (“Enhancing gene bank functioning to improve quality and access transparency”) will contribute to further development of the European Gene Bank Network for Animal Genetic Resources (EUGENA). An extensive survey will result in detailed information about features and purposes of genetic collections in Europe. Moreover, IMAGE will assess the quality management systems of gene banks and will “rationalize” gene bank collections, both from an economic and genetic perspective, and at national as well as at European level.

WP3 focusses on improvement of cryoconservation methods for those species for which currently available methods for ex situ conservation do not work. For example, storage of embryo’s or oocytes is not possible for birds (e.g. chicken), while freezing of sperm is also difficult and expensive and fertility rates are low and variable.

WP6 focusses on the genomic characterization of gene bank collections and development of new methodologies for conservation and optimal use of genetic diversity in farm animals (both in situ and ex situ). The availability of large numbers of SNP markers or whole genome sequence data gives the opportunity to study specific regions of the genome in more detail.

IMAGE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 677353.