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Modelling of metabolic flexibility: toward a better understanding of animal adaptive capacities

INRA Prod. Anim. 29(3) 201-216


1 PEGASE, AgroCampus Ouest, INRA, 35590, Saint-Gilles, France

2 CNRS, UMR 6074 IRISA, Campus de Beaulieu, 35042, Rennes, France

3 INRIA, Dyliss project, Campus de Beaulieu, 35042, Rennes, France

4 UMR Modélisation Systémique Appliquée aux Ruminants, INRA, AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, 75005, Paris, France


A sustainable production requires breeding animals that are able to adapt to a large variety of environmental constraints and perturbations to maintain their performance. Metabolic flexibility is a key element for a better understanding of individual adaptation to environmental challenges. Elements participating in metabolism are organized in a complex biological network with regulatory factors acting at different spatial and temporal scales. Three modeling formalisms are described to address network organization when facing perturbations. Examples are given to illustrate applications in animal production science. These formalisms depend on the size of the biological network to be studied and the type of prédictions qualitative, quantitative): 1) structural modeling based on large graph mining to find influential nodes in the network, 2) stoichiometric modeling to analyze metabolic fluxesin a stationary state, and 3) dynamic modeling to observe time-course evolution of a subset of elements.