SCALA-MEDI – Improving sustainability and quality of Sheep and Chicken productions by leveraging the Adaptation potential of LocAl breeds in the MEDIterranean area.

The SCALA-MEDI project will characterise the genetic and phenotypic diversity of Mediterranean local breeds of sheep and chicken and study their ability to adapt to harsh environments and management systems. The project will leverage data produced in EU projects and generate new data, including traditional production traits and using new technologies for remote phenotyping of adaptation related traits, genotypes, and to explore the epigenomic status of animals reared in different environmental conditions. Data and samples will be collected on 17 local sheep breeds and 15 village chicken populations from different bio-climatic environments from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Local resources will be characterized for farming system, diversity, distinctiveness and adaptive traits taking advantage of local expertise in addition to that available in Italy and France. Genomic data will be analysed to identify loci controlling adaptation traits and product authenticity and will be used to create decision-making tools to improve conservation and selection programmes and management strategies for Mediterranean livestock production system to face future climate change scenarios. Tools to manage diversity, breeding and crossbreeding strategies will be designed to improve sustainable production and exploit adaptation, and hence increase the value of local populations. This will promote their use and safeguard local genetic resources through on farm conservation. The breeding tools will be tested in nucleus flocks and breeding centres, as part of a comprehensive dissemination and knowledge transfer plan to ensure project outputs are applied. The added value of local populations that will result will foster the exploitation of outputs beyond the end of the project. SCALA-MEDI will use the data collected on genetic diversity to optimise strategies for cryo-conservation to ensure a biodiversity back up in case of need. Existing local Biobanks in North Africa will receive training in the latest techniques and be reinforced by creating links with biobanks operating across the Mediterranean basin. SCALA-MEDI has an international, interdisciplinary team in including experts in animal farming, animal breeding, animal physiology, veterinary science, conservation biology, population genetics, molecular genetics, reproduction biotechnologies, statistics and socio-economics, plus a super-computing centre, breeder associations and SMEs to ensure that the objectives are achieved.

Deadline 31 August 2025

Programme PRIMA PROGRAMME – section 1

Institute IBBA – Institute of agricultural biology and biotechnology

Contact Alessandra Stella

Role Partner


Area Ottimizzazione dell’uso delle risorse naturali negli ecosistemi agricoli e forestali