Precocious estrus and reproductive ability induced by PG 600 in prepuberal gilts.
A total of 29 SPF Large White prepuberal gilts (mean age 152 days at treatment) were examined for estrous and ovulatory responses after PG 600 treatment. After treatment, 85.2% of the gilts showed standing estrus within 6 days. Whereas the treatment-to-estrus interval and duration were 3.7 and 1.9 days respectively. As ovulation occurred on Day 5 to 6, appropriate timing of artificial insemination would be about 4 days after treatment. Fertility of gilts revealed to be excellent, giving rise to a high percentage of normal embryos, 85.3%. Meanwhile, development and growth of fetuses were mostly normal. Other reproductive performances recorded were: mean litter size 6.8; mean birth weight 1.26 kg; weaning-to-return estrus interval 5 to 8 days. In conclusion, PG 600 was found to be useful in inducing fertile estrus in prepuberal gilts, a result which will be of interest for commercial pig farms. (+info
Telomere shortening in mTR-/- embryos is associated with failure to close the neural tube.
Mice genetically deficient for the telomerase RNA (mTR) can be propagated for only a limited number of generations. In particular, mTR-/- mice of a mixed C57BL6/129Sv genetic background are infertile at the sixth generation and show serious hematopoietic defects. Here, we show that a percentage of mTR-/- embryos do not develop normally and fail to close the neural tube, preferentially at the forebrain and midbrain. The penetrance of this defect increases with the generation number, with 30% of the mTR-/- embryos from the fifth generation showing the phenotype. Moreover, mTR-/- kindreds in a pure C57BL6 background are only viable up to the fourth generation and also show defects in the closing of the neural tube. Cells derived from mTR-/- embryos that fail to close the neural tube have significantly shorter telomeres and decreased viability than their mTR-/- littermates with a closed neural tube, suggesting that the neural tube defect is a consequence of the loss of telomere function. The fact that the main defect detected in mTR-/- embryos is in the closing of the neural tube, suggests that this developmental process is among the most sensitive to telomere loss and chromosomal instability. (+info
Production of germfree mice by embryo transfer.
We applied the embryo transfer technique to germfree (GF) mouse production. Embryos harvested from superovulated mice were transferred aseptically, in a sterile environment, to the uterus of GF recipient females which had been mated with vasectomized GF males. One of the recipients became pregnant and delivered offspring. Sterility tests confirmed that the vasectomized males, newborns, recipient female mice, embryo-containing culture media, and the inside of the vinyl film isolator were germfree. These results suggest that the embryo transfer technique can be successfully applied to the production of GF mice. (+info
Ontogeny of intestinal safety factors: lactase capacities and lactose loads.
We measured intestinal safety factors (ratio of a physiological capacity to the load on it) for lactose digestion in developing rat pups. Specifically, we assessed the quantitative relationships between lactose load and the series capacities of lactase and the Na+-glucose cotransporter (SGLT-1). Both capacities increased significantly with age in suckling pups as a result of increasing intestinal mass and maintenance of mass-specific activities. The youngest pups examined (5 days) had surprisingly high safety factors of 8-13 for both lactase and SGLT-1, possibly because milk contains lactase substrates other than lactose; it also, however, suggests that their intestinal capacities were being prepared to meet future demands rather than just current ones. By day 10 (and also at day 15), increased lactose loads resulted in lower safety factors of 4-6, values more typical of adult intestines. The safety factor of SGLT-1 in day 30 (weanling) and day 100 (adult) rats was only approximately 1.0. This was initially unexpected, because most adult intestines maintain a modest reserve capacity beyond nutrient load values, but postweaning rats appear to use hindgut fermentation, assessed by gut morphology and hydrogen production assays, as a built-in reserve capacity. The series capacities of lactase and SGLT-1 varied in concert with each other over ontogeny and as lactose load was manipulated by experimental variation in litter size. (+info
Comparative expression of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone receptors in ovarian follicles from high and low prolific sheep breeds.
Expression of gonadotropin receptors and granulosa cell sensitivity to gonadotropin hormones by small (1-3 mm) and large (3.5-7 mm) follicles were compared in Romanov (ROM, ovulation rate = 3) and Ile-de-France (IF, ovulation rate = 1) ewes in the early and late follicular phase. In healthy follicles, LH receptor levels in granulosa cells increased with increasing follicular size (p < 0. 001) while FSH receptor levels decreased (p < 0.05). In granulosa cells of large follicles, LH receptor (LHR) mRNA levels were greater in the late than in the early follicular phase (p < 0.001, p < 0.05, for ROM and IF, respectively). In the early follicular phase, LHR levels in granulosa (p < 0.001) and theca cells (p < 0.05) of small follicles were greater in ROM than in IF ewes. FSH receptor mRNA levels in granulosa cells of small and large ROM follicles were greater than in the corresponding IF follicles (p < 0.05). Finally, a greater responsiveness (increase in cAMP secretion) to both FSH and hCG was observed by granulosa cells collected during the early follicular phase from ROM vs. IF ewes. Data provide evidence that the greater ovulation rate in the ROM as compared to the IF breed is associated with a greater gonadotropin responsiveness during the early follicular phase. (+info
Genetic determination of individual birth weight and its association with sow productivity traits using Bayesian analyses.
Genetic association between individual birth weight (IBW) and litter birth weight (LBW) was analyzed on records of 14,950 individual pigs born alive between 1988 and 1994 at the pig breeding farm of the University of Kiel. Dams were from three purebred lines (German Landrace, German Edelschwein, and Large White) and their crosses. Phenotypically, preweaning mortality of pigs decreased substantially from 40% for pigs with < or = 1 kg weight to less than 7% for pigs with > 1.6 kg. For these low to high birth weight categories, preweaning growth (d 21 of age) and early postweaning growth (weaning to 25 kg) increased by more than 28 and 8% per day, respectively. Bayesian analysis was performed based on direct-maternal effects models for IBW and multiple-trait direct effects models for number of pigs born in total (NOBT) and alive (NOBA) and LBW. Bayesian posterior means for direct and maternal heritability and litter proportion of variance in IBW were .09, .26, and .18, respectively. After adjustment for NOBT, these changed to .08, .22, and .09, respectively. Adjustment for NOBT reduced the direct and maternal genetic correlation from -.41 to -.22. For these direct-maternal correlations, the 95% highest posterior density intervals were -.75 to -.07, and -.58 to .17 before and after adjustment for NOBT. Adjustment for NOBT was found to be necessary to obtain unbiased estimates of genetic effects for IBW. The relationship between IBW and NOBT, and thus the adjustment, was linear with a decrease in IBW of 44 g per additionally born pig. For litter traits, direct heritabilities were .10, .08, and .08 for NOBT, NOBA, and LBW, respectively. After adjustment of LBW for NOBA the heritability changed to .43. Expected variance components for LBW derived from estimates of IBW revealed that genetic and environmental covariances between full-sibs and variation in litter size resulted in the large deviation of maternal heritability for IBW and its equivalent estimate for LBW. These covariances among full-sibs could not be estimated if only LBW were recorded. Therefore, selection for increased IBW is recommended, with the opportunity to improve both direct and maternal genetic effects of birth weight of pigs and, thus, their vitality and pre- and postnatal growth. (+info
Bayesian analysis of birth weight and litter size in Baluchi sheep using Gibbs sampling.
Variance and covariance components for birth weight (BWT), as a lamb trait, and litter size measured on ewes in the first, second, and third parities (LS1 through LS3) were estimated using a Bayesian application of the Gibbs sampler. Data came from Baluchi sheep born between 1966 and 1989 at the Abbasabad sheep breeding station, located northeast of Mashhad, Iran. There were 10,406 records of BWT recorded for all ewe lambs and for ram lambs that later became sires or maternal grandsires. All lambs that later became dams had records of LS1 through LS3. Separate bivariate analyses were done for each combination of BWT and one of the three variables LS1 through LS3. The Gibbs sampler with data augmentation was used to draw samples from the marginal posterior distribution for sire, maternal grandsire, and residual variances and the covariance between the sire and maternal grandsire for BWT, variances for the sire and residual variances for the litter size traits, and the covariances between sire effects for different trait combinations, sire and maternal grandsire effects for different combinations of BWT and LS1 through LS3, and the residual covariations between traits. Although most of the densities of estimates were slightly skewed, they seemed to fit the normal distribution well, because the mean, mode, and median were similar. Direct and maternal heritabilities for BWT were relatively high with marginal posterior modes of .14 and .13, respectively. The average of the three direct-maternal genetic correlation estimates for BWT was low, .10, but had a high standard deviation. Heritability increased from LS1 to LS3 and was relatively high, .29 to .37. Direct genetic correlations between BWT and LS1 and between BWT and LS3 were negative, -.32 and -.43, respectively. Otherwise, the same correlation between BWT and LS2 was positive and low, .06. Genetic correlations between maternal effects for BWT and direct effects for LS1 through LS3 were all highly negative and consistent for all parities, circa -.75. Environmental correlations between BWT and LS1 through LS3 were relatively low and ranged from .18 to .29 and had high standard errors. (+info
Responses in ovulation rate, embryonal survival, and litter traits in swine to 14 generations of selection to increase litter size.
Eleven generations of selection for increased index of ovulation rate and embryonal survival rate, followed by three generations of selection for litter size, were practiced. Laparotomy was used to count corpora lutea and fetuses at 50 d of gestation. High-indexing gilts, approximately 30%, were farrowed. Sons of dams in the upper 10% of the distribution were selected. Selection from Generations 12 to 14 was for increased number of fully formed pigs; replacements were from the largest 25% of the litters. A randomly selected control line was maintained. Responses at Generation 11 were approximately 7.4 ova and 3.8 fetuses at 50 d of gestation (P < .01) and 2.3 fully formed pigs (P < .01) and 1.1 live pigs at birth (P < .05). Responses at Generation 14 were three fully formed pigs (P < .01) and 1.4 live pigs (P < .05) per litter. Number of pigs weaned declined (P < .05) in the index line. Total litter weight weaned did not change significantly. Ovulation rate and number of fetuses had positive genetic correlations with number of stillborn pigs per litter. Significantly greater rate of inbreeding and increased litter size at 50 d of gestation in the select line may have contributed to greater fetal losses in late gestation, greater number of stillborn pigs, and lighter pigs at birth, leading to lower preweaning viability. Heritabilities of traits were between 8 and 25%. Genetic improvement programs should emphasize live-born pigs and perhaps weight of live-born pigs because of undesirable genetic relationships of ovulation rate and number of fetuses with numbers of stillborn and mummified pigs and because birth weight decreased as litter size increased. (+info