Infoscience

Journal article

A WebGIS platform for the monitoring of Farm Animal Genetic Resources (GENMON)

Background In 2007, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) initiated the Global plan of action for Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR). The main goal of this plan is to reduce further loss of genetic diversity in farm animals, so as to protect and promote the diversity of farm animal resources. An important step to reach this goal is to monitor and prioritize endangered breeds in the context of conservation programs. Methodology/Web portal implementation The GENMON WebGIS platform is able to monitor FAnGR and to evaluate the degree of endangerment of livestock breeds. The system takes into account pedigree and introgression information, the geographical concentration of animals, the cryo-conservation plan and the sustainability of breeding activities based on socio-economic data as well as present and future land use conditions. A multi-criteria decision tool supports the aggregation of the multi-thematic indices mentioned above using the MACBETH method, which is based on a weighted average using satisfaction thresholds. GENMON is a monitoring tool to reach subjective decisions made by a government agency. It relies on open source software and is available at http://lasigsrv2.epfl.ch/genmon-ch. Results/Significance GENMON allows users to upload pedigree-information (animal ID, parents, birthdate, sex, location and introgression) from a specific livestock breed and to define species and/or region-specific weighting parameters and thresholds. The program then completes a pedigree analysis and derives several indices that are used to calculate an integrated score of conservation prioritization for the breeds under investigation. The score can be visualized on a geographic map and allows a fast, intuitive and regional identification of breeds in danger. Appropriate conservation actions and breeding programs can thus be undertaken in order to promote the recovery of the genetic diversity in livestock breeds in need. The use of the platform is illustrated by means of an example based on three local livestock breeds from different species in Switzerland.

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