Genome Biology – Program

Molecular determinants of resilience of farm animals – molecular mechanisms of coordinated manifestation of traits of animal health, resource efficiency and adaptation potential

We conduct research on the genetic and epigenetic fundamentals of inheritance and on trait manifestation and differentiation of important breeding traits for the development of innovative tools for sustainable livestock breeding, for understanding performance differences of individual farm animals, and to exploit the biodiversity of livestock species and breeding lines.

Our research is focused on genome assignment, identification, and characterization of trait associated and causal genetic variation as well as on the exploration of regulative and coordinative mechanisms of gene expression for trait determination. Aim of this research is the sustainable improvement of functional characteristics that determine the interaction of the resilience of farm animals, such as resource efficiency, animal health, and adaptation capability.



We perform holistic analyses on different biological levels of genotype and phenotype correlation to detect functionally important molecular pathways and genes for these traits of balanced livestock breeding.

Another focus of the Institute for Genome Biology is the validation of trait association and the verification of functionality and causality of DNA segments by in vivo and in vitro analyses.

The Genomics Unit is focusing on analyses of the molecular genetic basics of interaction of performance and immune and stress response in pig (Sus scrofa) and chicken (Gallus gallus).

Research of the Unit Genome Physiology is addressing the nutrient transformation and the Interaction betweenimmune system and metabolisms in cattle (Bos taurus).

The Unit Functional Genome Analyses is primarily analyzing epigenetic variation and trait associated expression of mRNA and miRNA for detection and characterization of regulatory networks with impact on metabolic parameters in selected livestock animals.

The Fish Genetics Unit is analyzing the molecular and cellular principles of adaptation capacity and immune response as well as the functional biodiversity of aquaculture, stocking and wild fish, such as rainbow trout, maraena whitefish, or pike-perch.

The Unit Signal Transduction is focusing on functional significance of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system for growth and energy metabolism in a mouse model and in farm animals and is working on the elucidation of signaling processes responsible for metabolic homeostasis.

Together, we use a wide spectrum of techniques on our equipment platforms, such as array analyses, next generation sequencing or cell models. This way, we elucidate genetic, epigenetic, and physiological control cycles and contribute to the definition of advanced and more efficient selection parameters.

We identify functional and causal trait associated variation, such as polymorphisms in the Brachyury gene as cause for the inheritance disease vertebro-spinal dysplasia in cattle or in the glucocorticoid receptor gene with effects on the neuroendocrine stress axis in pig.

Causal polymorphisms allow a more accurate estimation of the genetic potential then numerous linked markers and create free valences that allow considering non-additive effects and interactions between genes, gene products and environmental impact on selection.

Our fundamental and applied scientific research provides innovative solutions and tools for genotype based management plans in livestock breeding and it allows the selection of appropriate individuals for any requirements in animal production and performance.