Objectives and organization
France Génétique Elevage

 A high-performance collective system to drive genetic improvement

France has a rich and exceptional genetic diversity. Over 50 breeds of cattle, sheep and goats are targeted in official selection programmes with the active involvement of more than 70,000 farmers. For the sake of efficiency, every stage in the genetic improvement programmes is managed by a specialized organization.

France Genetique Elevage, as the national value chain organization for the genetic improvement of ruminants gathers under a single umbrella both the aforementioned specialized organizations as well as those representing livestock farmers (FNB, FNPL, FNO, FNEC). Its responsible for guiding and coordinating this vast collective set-up. Its ensures that new scientific knowledge and technological innovations are constantly assimilated.

 The national individual identification system

The national identification number is the basis for recording all the information relative to a single animal all throughout its life: information on husbandry, pedigree, health, genetic information, and more.

The Chambers of Agriculture are locally responsible for operating the system. This is considered as a key asset allowing a wide range of collected data to be readily available with a reliability level securing the precision of genetic indices to be produced.

 Breeding objectives

The selection objectives for each breed relates to precise and diverse criteria: productivity (quantity and quality of product) and functional advantages (fertility, longevity, morphology, stance, etc.).

The Breeding Organizations responsible for their definition and for herd book maintenance and breeding livestock classification are gathered under a single national umbrella “Races de France”.

 Collection and recording of husbandry data

The collection and recording of husbandry data (productivity, functional traits) concerns over 4.9 million animals in 70,000 farms.

Such performance recording, along other related services, is provided by technical organizations independent from the breeding associations. They are federated at national level in the organizations “France Conseil Elevage” for dairy livestock and “Bovins Croissance” for meat cattle.

 Selection of breeding animals

The selection of breeding animals is based on performance recording of over 7,000 male animals produced from mating best performers within each breeds.

These very wide-range programmes are conducted by Breeding Companies which are also responsible for the pro-duction of semen doses and the animal insemination service. They are represented at national level by UNCEIA.

 The national genetic information system

All data on pedigree, parentage, husbandry and so on are recorded in a single national geneic information system that feeds into the national genetic database.

Every year this involves data recording, monitoring and processing of over four million animals. Data include 26 million basic results from milk testing, 7 million inseminations, 1.6 million live weights records, etc.

This network for the exchange of livestock farming data and related services is run by regional IT service organiza-tions (ARSOE) under a national umbrella: FIEA.

 Genetic evaluation of breeding animals

Independently of all livestock farmers’ organizations, the government has taken responsibility for the genetic evaluation of breeding animals as a guarantee of objectivity.

Using the most modern statistical methods (BLUP or Best Linear Unbiased Prediction for example), the computation of genetic values (indices) takes into account all the parentage factors and corrects for environmental effects.

This scientific work is carried out by INRA (the French national institute for agricultural research), which also runs the National Genetic Information Database.

 Rigorous methods and procedures

In order to provide rigorous, consistent procedures, the technical protocols for each stage are identical for all breeds in a species raised for the same purpose (meat or milk). They are defined and updated by the Institut de l’Élevage, the French livestock farming institute, which also provide technical assistance to all the organizations taking part in genetic improvement programmes.

For 40 years, this national research and development organization has also been responsible for overseeing and providing technical assistance for national identification/traceability systems.

The CNBL is the national consultation organization for technical and genetics issues in the milk sheep sector. The Institut de l’Élevage runs it.

 Genomic selection: a revolution on the way

France was among the first countries to win official validation at international level from Interbull for its genomic evaluation methods, as designed by INRA, UNCEIA and the Institut de l’Élevage.

The detailed genomic evaluation of very young animals based on DNA analysis makes genetic progress even swifter and broadens the market supply of breeders.

The genomic indices for breeds such as Prim’Holstein, Montbéliarde or Normande cover all the characteristics hi-therto evaluated by progeny testing. Their reliability is guaranteed by the very large reference populations (bulls evaluated using both genomic methods and conventionally by progeny testing).

The accumulated experience on these breeds will pave the way to genomic selection of other dairy breeds and beef cattle breeds.



Cart documents to download directly or to add to your cart for download at the end of visit