Three-dimensional holo’omic landscapes to unveil host-microbiota interactions shaping animal production is an exciting multi-disciplinary project across 11 countries that is looking to expand the team with expertise from experimental work to computational biology.
Summary of the project:
Understanding the interplay between animals and microorganisms associated with them is an essential step for improving animal health, welfare and production. Current efforts to understand the biomolecular interactions that impact production processes depend on novel analytical strategies to study host genomes, their microbial metagenomes and the different ‘omic layers interconnecting them. However, conventional DNA/RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry fail to inform about how the different biological elements are spatially distributed in the ecosystem. In consequence, many microbe-microbe and animal-microbe interactions remain hidden due to the lack of spatial resolution of the employed techniques. Acknowledging the three-dimensional (3D) conformation of biomolecules, cells and tissues is now considered a key element for advancing the understanding of biomolecular interactions. In 3D’omics, we will develop, optimise and implement this technology in animal production to generate 3D’omic landscapes, the most accurate reconstructions of intestinal host-microbiota ecosystems ever achieved. Using two terrestrial production systems, namely poultry and swine, we will analyse the effects of a myriad of factors, including animal development, diet, exposure to pathogens and management practices, in the shaping of 3D’omic landscapes. Through coupling our new technology with cutting edge analyses of animal health and performance, we will advance phenotypic variability and genetic evaluations of production animals to a new frontier. We foresee our strategy/product will open new research avenues to improve animal breeding practices, develop microbiota- and host-tailored feeds and animal health treatments, and to design new management practices that will increase production efficiency and animal welfare while decreasing the environmental impact.
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