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Subprojects Phase I

Task 1.- Recovery and conservation of phytogenetic resources in agricultural species of landscape interest in Extremadura and Alentejo.
Centro de Investigación Finca La Orden-Valdesequera, Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos (Elvas) y Escuela Superior Agraria de Elvas (Instituto Politécnico de Portalegre).
Project coordinator or responsible researcher: Francisco González López (Centro de 
Investigación La Orden-Valdesequera) y Manuel María Tavares de Sousa (INRB).


Alentejo and Extremadura are two similar regions regarding to the species variety which live there, they are both threatened by the same genetic erosion problems as: wrong practises and agricultural labours, replacement of local varieties with others of less interest, shepherding abuse, etc. The development of common plans to preserve this diversity, genetic heritage of rural communities in both countries, is a duty for the social and economic development and for the research institutions, it is also a moral obligation, because once they are lost, they will be gone for ever. 

Generally the collection and conservation of this genetic recourses in Alentejo and Extremadura, have been carried out independently, as a consequence of individual plans of research. The point is to make a common inventory with the preserved material in both regions from each country, to detect areas still not collected and to make common collection and preservation activities of this phitogenetic recourses.

We are intending to contribute the valorization, promotion, common recourse management and preservation, letting to intensify the relationship between both areas which are involved in the project for the preservation of the biodiversity in the Rural Communities.


  1. Inventory of vegetal matter from meadow and forage leguminous plants,  meadow and forage grass, new species of forage interest, grain legumes, aromatic and medicinal plants for decoration and gardening from both regions, preserved in our germplasm banks.
  2. Determination of areas, with a high potential of genetic diversity, which haven't been collected yet.
  3. Prospecting and planning of collecting expeditions in areas with a high potential of genetic diversity.
  4. Multiplication and characterization of the collected germoplasm.
  5. Study of the genetic diversity and grain legumes by using molecular markers (Microsatellites (SSRs) and/or Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP).
  6. Divulgation of the results.
Task 2.- Analysis of the production dynamics of pastures and forages, in extensive livestock in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula.

Centro de Investigación Finca La Orden-Valdesequera and Unidade de Recursos Genéticos, Ecofisiología e Melhoramento de Plantas (Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos).
Project coordinator or responsible researcher: Francisco González López (Centro de  Investigación La Orden-Valdesequera) and Manuel María Tavares de Sousa (INRB).


The food availability in natural pastures is very changeable along the year. The pasture production curve has got a relative maximum in autumn and a minimum in winter because of the low temperatures (winter stop) and an absolute maximum in spring which can perform until a 70% of the total annual production. In summer there isn't production due to the lack of water and the high temperatures.

This way in winter and summer appear the biggest difficulties for the animal diet in extensive stockbreeding. Normally in this period it is necessary to turn to supplementary food obtained out of production which increases the production expenses until getting sometimes unsustainable.

To solve the productive deficit in the extensive stockbreeding areas in winter and in summer and to make a more regular food curve offer, it seems to be better turning to the use of forage crops which through conservation (hay, cereal storage or grain) or through shepherding (winter and stubble, etc) grant food for the cattle in a sustainable way.

For that, forage cereal sowings (oats and triticales) will be done in two collaborating extensions with natural pastures and some cultivation crops. There will be developed a monitoring and control  of the profits and the forage productivity from each variety tested will be evaluated along the year, demonstrating shows will be carry put by farmers and technicians to divulge the management the behaviour and the potentiality of these new varieties.

Besides in other two collaborating extensions with the same characteristics a global study about the needs and availabilities of the animals will be developed along the year, bearing in mind the cereal, forage and pastures crops. 

In this second case apart from the forage varieties mentioned, some tested pastures mixtures will be sowed in La Orden, and different sowing techniques will be compared: traditional sowing and direct sowing with and without herbicide, compared to natural graze improved with phosphoric fertilizer and having as witness the natural graze belonging to the extension. The productions of all these treatments will be measured along the year. Production curves from the extension (forage and meadow grass) will be determined, and the animal needs curve will be compared along the year. 

The demonstrative plots will be set in a similar way in Extremadura as in Alentejo. 

By doing this, first of all  it is intended to show technicians, farmers and stockbreeders, the new vegetables materials from meadows and forages, recently obtained in the Centro de Investigación La Orden-Valdesequera and in the Estación Nacional de Mejora de Plantas de Elvas, as well as the new meadow grass sowing techniques, to improve the pasture production. 

Also it is intended to contribute to the improvement of agropecuary extensions management in the extensive livestock areas, maximizing the use of natural recourses and decreasing the dependence of food produced out of the exploitation, Increasing this way the sustainability of the ecosystem.

Task 3 - Tissue Bank of different types of Iberian pig for future DNA analyses

Centro de Investigación La Orden-Valdesequera, INRB.
Project coordinator or responsible researcher: Mercedes Izquierdo (Centro de Investigación La Orden-Valdesequera), Luis Telo da Gama (L-INIA).


Nowadays different projects of genetic improvement, reproduction and quality of Iberian pig meat are being developed. All these projects are generating a great quantity of data that are gathering in a very interesting phenotypic database. In a future, this information could be very important in order to be able to associate the  different molecular markers with the phenotypic characters of economic interest in Iberian pig. Thus, the creation of a tissue and DNA bank of male and female Iberian pigs in Spain and Portugal, belonging to the different livestock that are part of the research projects  that have any phenotypic information is planned. These samples are individually identified and will be frozen at –70º C. Once there is a sufficient number of phenotypic data, the samples will be defrosted for the DNA isolation, polymorphisms identification  and studies of association among determined genotypes with characters of economic importance. Apart from this use, a DNA bank can be also interesting for a future assignation of RITECA. Annex 1:  Description of the tasks to develop in the different ancestor activities and establishing programs of minimum consanguinity as well as a tool to grant the monitoring of the products.


Creation of a bank of tissue and Iberian pig DNA that are included in research projects, to develop DNA studies in a future approving the paternity assignations, consanguinity studies and genetic monitoring and association of genotypes to characters of economic importance.