Shedding light onto the causality forces of phenotypic expression in the holobiont organism

Oscar Gonzalez-Recio

Oscar Gonzalez-Recio, INIA


Mammals and their microbiome constitute complex holobiont organisms. The interaction between their genomes and the environment modulate the host phenotype. There is evidence that the host genome exerts some control over the microbiota composition. This convoluted system poses a challenge in determining the causal source of certain phenotypes (e.g. diabetes, BMI, feed efficiency). Structural equation models (SEM) are useful to disentangle the causal effect of the hologenome on the phenotypic expression. Particularly, we apply SEM to investigate the causal genomic and metagenomic forces that contribute to the variability in methane emissions in cows to accomplish with the Climate Change’s Paris Agreement.


Oscar González-Recio completed his PhD in 2006. Since then, he has conducted research in three continents including the University of Wisconsin in the USA, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries in Australia, and the National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research in Spain. He is also associate professor at the UPM University. From 2002 to 2013, he used statistical genomics to work on aspects related to fertility, genomic selection and epigenetics. Since 2013, his research mainly focuses on genomic applications to breed for more efficient and sustainable livestock with lower methane emissions. Recently, the role of the microbiome in the sustainability of animal husbandry and the use of metagenomic information in animal breeding is getting much of his research interest.