This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 772787.

PhD students in SMARTER project: Quentin Le Graverand, Camila Balconi Marquez, Gracialda Ferreira

Quentin Le Graverand (PhD student – INRAE)

Title of the thesis: Identification of predictors for the genetic evaluation of feed efficiency in meat sheep (This PhD Thesis is supported by the SMARTER and GrassToGas project).

Feed efficiency is an important trait to include in breeding programs given its impact both at the economic and environmental levels. Currently, the ability to select for feed efficiency depends on the ability to record daily feed intake. In small ruminants, this phenotyping is not yet well developed, particularly because of cost. The objective is thus to identify biological markers able to predict feed efficiency. Quentin will work on fine phenotypes collected on divergent lines for Residual Feed Intake, a criteria of feed efficiency. These lines are being developed in the Romane meat sheep breed at the experimental unit P3R – Bourges. On individuals belonging to the 2nd and 3rd generations of selection, we collected blood for genotyping (54 k SNP chip) and metabolomics analyses, rumen fluid for microbiota and metabolomics analyses, and fecal sample on which NIRS are performed. All these samples are collected twice per individual: first after a 6 week-period of control under a concentrate diet, and then after another 6 week-period of control under a total mixed ration including 2/3 of hay and 1/3 of concentrate. Quentin will analyse all these fine phenotypes in relationship with residual feed intake, and will integrate them to predict feed efficiency.


Camila Balconi Marques (PhD student, INIA fellowship)

With Brazilian origins, Camila Balconi Marques graduated as a Veterinarian at the Federal University of Santa Maria in 2017 and has a master’s degree in health and reproduction in the same University (2017-2018). Currently, develops the initial stages of his PhD´s degree at the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA – UY), under the guidance of Ing. Agr. PhD Gabriel Ciappesoni, Ignacio de Barbieri and José Velazco. The thesis is part of the SMARTER (WP1 and 3) and RUMIAR Project (INIA-UY), entitled “Estimation of genetic parameters for feed intake, RFI and methane emission and its relationship with productive traits in sheep”. Besides this work, she is an excellent singer and guitar player!




Gracialda Ferreira (PhD thesis, INIA)

On July 10, 2020, Dr. Gracialda Ferreira de Ferreira’s MSc Thesis “Consequence of divergent selection due to resistance to gastrointestinal parasites in sheep on feed intake and feed efficiency” was approved with the highest qualification and with honors! Congratulations Gracialda! Currently a scientific article of this thesis is under review.