Animal biodiversity represents the foundation of natural selection, allowing a population to adapt, throughout their evolution, to a wide variety of environmental and breeding conditions.
The safeguarding of the biodiversity of breeds and populations is also an expression of human cultural heritage.
The project: "Milanino: a Lombard chicken breed to be preserved and disseminated in the territory (MIPoL)" is financed by Regione Lombardia in the rural development program 2014-2020, Measure 10 "Agro-climatic environmental payments" - SUB-MEASURE 10.2 - "Support for the conservation, sustainable use and development of genetic resources in agriculture" - operation 10.2.01- "Conservation of animal and plant biodiversity."
The Milanino breed has been subject to conservation by the research group at the University of Milan for years, but due to the recent recovery, it is not yet present in the genealogical book of Italian poultry breeds.
The Milanino chicken, given its hardiness and interesting productive characteristics, is the Lombard poultry breed with the greatest potential for zootechnical use and therefore the possibility of wide dissemination in rural areas, including peri-urban and marginal areas.
GOAL OF THE MIPoL PROJECT
The aim of the MIPoL project is to conserve the native Milanino breed in-situ and to consolidate and continue the conservation activities started with the CoVAL project in 2012.
The present project plans to improve the knowledge, management, and direct dissemination of Milanino chicken on the territory of Lombardian farms. The MIPoL project will also provide a significant contribution to scientific knowledge regarding existing Lombardian genetic resources, in order to optimize conservation and livestock valorization activities.
ACTIVITIES OF THE PROJECT
The project has a duration of 24 months and is divided into two sub-projects.
Dedicated to the following actions:
- Screening of the current animal biodiversity situation through a genetic characterization using microsatellite and minisatellite markers;
- Verification of the genetic structure of populations and identification of genetic lines for the preparation of mating plans;
- Monitoring the negative effects of a possible high level of inbreeding or avoiding its possible presence;
- In-situ conservation of the Milanino breed population with constant action of phenotypic characterization (morphological, reproductive, productive, and behavioral characteristics);
- Promotion of a network of “Bird growers” engaged in livestock farming and safeguarding the Milanino breed.
Dedicated to accompanying actions, namely information dissemination activities, preparation of reports aimed at facilitating the transfer of information to the agricultural world and the dissemination of knowledge.
• In the first year of the project, the network of "Bird growers" will be promoted, which will be engaged in the zootechnical breeding of the breed. In the second year, 200 chicks are expected to hatch at the Avian Center for the Conservation of Local Genetic Resources (CZDS animal husbandry department, UNIMI, Lodi), delivered at one day of age to the Bird growers.
The beneficiaries of the activity results are:
- The Lombard agricultural system
- The Lombard poultry sector
- The scientific community
- The regional territory
- The Ministry of Agricultural, Food, Forestry, and Tourism Policies.