The project has the following specific scientific and technological objectives:
- Characterization of local sheep and chicken in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia using advanced approaches to estimate phenotypic, genotypic and epi-genotypic diversity.
- Identification of genomic signatures of adaptation in local genetic resources.
- Establishment of selective breeding programmes to improve the sustainability and resilience of local farming systems, compatible with the preservation of diversity, and adaptation to harsh and changing environments.
- Assessment of the role of epigenetics in adaptation, to fill the existing gap in knowledge of the link between genotype and its phenotypic expression in different environments.
- Exploration of options to include epigenomic marks in breeding programs.
- Definition of the specific features and benefits of local sheep and chicken to develop approaches for in vivo conservation of local genetic resources.
- Development of strategies to add value to products from local genetic resources and promote their use.
- Development of a network of existing genebanks in the Southern Mediterranean region and cooperation with the European genebank network.
- Capacity building, knowledge transfer and dissemination of advances achieved by the project to the whole value chain and stakeholders.
To achieve these objectives, SCALA-MEDI will benefit from knowledge acquired and data produced by SCALA- MEDI Partners in ongoing and completed EU and National projects.