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Neuroendocrine mechanisms and sustainable control of seasonality in sheep and goats


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Conference poster

Conference poster

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Philippe Chemineau

A meeting in the honor of Philippe Chemineau

A 40 year long career in the field of animal science and physiology.
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Neuroendocrine mechanisms and sustainable control of seasonality in sheep and goats

June 13-14, 2019 - in Nouzilly, France 


The control of reproduction in small ruminants, namely the prior choice of time and the mode of fertilization, provides a very strong acceleration of the rate of genetic progress, in particular by using artificial insemination (AI) which allows the detection and dissemination of the best male genes in all herds. It also allows the farmer to choose the timing of births in the year coinciding with the availability of food and / or market conditions that are most favorable. Finally, it allows easier control of parturition, and the formation of more uniform batches of animals for food or for sale.

In industrialized countries and in intensive farming systems, particularly in Europe, this control has been the subject of much research after the discovery of the essential roles of steroid hormones, in particular progesterone (P4) and gonadotropins (LH, FSH) and ECG or PMSG). Based on these observations, "hormonal" treatments were successfully developed in the 60s-70s and are used and every year on hundreds of thousands of animals.

However, these treatments are reaching their limits today because they are not without health risks for the consumer. Indeed, they are a source of health risk, do not respect animal welfare, they are a source of environmental contamination and especially their societal acceptability is increasingly reduced. Thus, the current trend is to develop more sustainable agroecological techniques, less invasive and to limit the use of synthetic hormone treatments. The recent emergence of environmental concerns has changed the point of view of French livestock professionals, who are now more concerned than before with implementing sustainable breeding techniques.

For these reasons, studies of the physiological determinants of the seasonality of reproduction and the means of controlling it using soft methods, including social interactions, are experiencing an important return on the scientific scene. The objective of this international symposium is to review these aspects in its physiological and neuroendocrine dimensions, placing them in a socio-economic and application dimension within livestock systems. Thus, this symposium will bring together national and international scientists, but also zootechnicians in the public domain but also private (Allice, Capgènes ...) to review these issues.

In addition, this symposium will be the occasion to celebrate the career of Philippe Chemineau. After working more than 40 years in the field of animal sciences and physiology Philippe will (hopefully!) become INRA emeritus research director in June. We will use this occasion to look back on his brilliant career as a scientist as well as on his administrative and political responsabilities in the field. 

En français:

Le contrôle de la reproduction chez les petits ruminants, à savoir le choix préalable du moment et du mode de fécondation, fournit une très forte accélération du taux de progrès génétique, notamment en utilisant l'insémination artificielle (IA) qui permet la détection et la dissémination des meilleures gènes mâles dans tous les troupeaux. Il permet également à l’agriculteur de choisir le moment des naissances dans l’année qui coïncide avec la disponibilité de la nourriture et / ou les conditions du marché les plus favorables. Enfin, il permet de contrôler plus facilement la parturition et de former des lots d'animaux plus uniformes destinés à la consommation ou à la vente.

Dans les pays industrialisés et dans les systèmes de production intensifs, notamment en Europe, ce contrôle a fait l’objet de nombreuses recherches après la découverte du rôle essentiel des hormones stéroïdiennes, en particulier de la progestérone (P4) et des gonadotrophines (LH, FSH) et de l’ECG (ou de la PMSG). Sur la base de ces observations, des traitements "hormonaux" ont été mis au point avec succès dans les années 60 et 70 et sont utilisés chaque année sur des centaines de milliers d'animaux.

Cependant, ces traitements atteignent aujourd'hui leurs limites car ils ne sont pas sans risques pour la santé du consommateur. En effet, ils sont une source de risque pour la santé, ne respectent pas le bien-être des animaux, ils sont une source de contamination de l'environnement et leur acceptabilité par la société est de plus en plus réduite. Ainsi, la tendance actuelle est de développer des techniques agro-écologiques plus durables, moins invasives et de limiter l'utilisation de traitements hormonaux synthétiques. L'émergence récente de préoccupations environnementales a changé le point de vue des professionnels français de l'élevage, qui sont désormais plus concernés qu'auparavant par la mise en œuvre de techniques de sélection durables.

Pour ces raisons, les études des déterminants physiologiques de la saisonnalité de la reproduction et des moyens de la contrôler par des méthodes douces, y compris les interactions sociales, connaissent un retour important sur la scène scientifique. Ce colloque international a pour objectif de passer en revue ces aspects dans ses dimensions physiologique et neuroendocrinienne, en les plaçant dans une dimension socio-économique et d'application au sein des systèmes d'élevage. Ainsi, ce colloque réunira des scientifiques nationaux et internationaux, mais aussi des zootechniciens du domaine public mais aussi des privés (Allice, Capgènes ...) pour examiner ces questions.

De plus, ce symposium sera l'occasion de célébrer la carrière de Philippe Chemineau. Après avoir travaillé plus de 40 ans dans le domaine des sciences animales et de la physiologie, Philippe deviendra (espérons-le!) Directeur de recherche émérite de l'INRA en juin. Nous profiterons de cette occasion pour faire le point sur sa brillante carrière de scientifique ainsi que sur ses responsabilités administratives et politiques sur le terrain.