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Progesterone (P4) plays a key role in pregnancy establishment and maintenance; during early pregnancy, P4 stimulates the production and release of uterine secretions necessary for conceptus growth prior to implantation; therefore, exogenous P4 supplementation may improve embryo development. This study evaluated the effects of supplementation during early pregnancy with long-acting injectable progesterone or altrenogest on embryonic characteristics of sows and gilts. Thus, a total of 32 sows and 16 gilts were used. On day 6 of pregnancy sows and gilts were allocated to one of the following groups: non-supplemented; supplemented with 20 mg of altrenogest, orally, from days 6 to 12 of pregnancy; supplemented with 2.15 mg/kg of long-acting injectable progesterone on day 6 of pregnancy. Animals were killed on day 28 of pregnancy, and ovulation rate, embryo survival, embryo weight, crown-to-rump length, uterine glandular epithelium and endometrial vascularization were assessed. Treatments had no effect on pregnancy rate, embryo survival or endometrial vascular density (P > 0.05). Non-supplemented gilts presented larger and heavier embryos compared to gilts from supplemented groups (P < 0.05). Sows in the altrenogest group presented larger and heavier embryos compared to non-supplemented sows and sows supplemented with long-acting injectable progesterone. In conclusion, supplementation of sows and gilts with progestagen from day 6 of pregnancy can be used as a means to improve embryo survival without deleterious effects.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
By using methods of subordinacy theory, we study packing continuity properties of spectral measures of discrete one-dimensional Schrödinger operators acting on the whole line. Then we apply these methods to Sturmian operators with rotation numbers of quasibounded density to show that they have purely
-packing continuous spectrum. A dimensional stability result is also mentioned.
Differences in forage nutritive value between morning and afternoon are related to patterns of dehydration and carbohydrate accumulation throughout the day. In this way, management strategies that maximize grazing time during the afternoon could increase forage nutritive value and consequently nutrient intake. The aim of the current experiment was to evaluate the effect of the time of day (06.00 h [designated AM] or 15.00 h [PM]) that cattle are moved to a new paddock on forage nutritive value, grazing behaviour and animal performance of beef cattle on rotationally stocked Marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) pastures. A spring and summer study was conducted in Pirassununga, SP, Brazil from October 2012 to March 2013 (182 days). Treatments were distributed in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass, morphological composition, herbage allowance and stocking rates were similar between treatments during spring and summer. Moving animals to a new paddock, regardless of the time of day – 06.00 h (AM) or 15.00 h (PM) – stimulated grazing, modifying the distribution of meals throughout the day. However, compensatory mechanisms among grazing time, bite rate and forage nutritive value throughout the day operated in order to generate similar performance between animals offered a new paddock in the morning or in the afternoon.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of incubating semen for different periods (90, 270 or 450 min) with or without Trolox® (100 or 150 µM) on the quality of sperm from Saimiri collinsi. Sperm motility, vigour, and plasma membrane integrity (PMI) were evaluated in both fresh semen and semen incubated for different time periods, i.e. 90, 270 or 450 min of incubation. Supplementation of semen extender with Trolox® 100 µM improved sperm motility, vigour and PMI for up to 270 min of incubation.
Despite alterations caused by anthropogenic activities in Singaporean coral reefs, the sponge communities are quite diverse and Xestospongia testudinaria is one of the most common sponge species. In the present study, we used 16S rRNA gene barcoded pyrosequencing to characterize and compare bacterial communities from different biotopes (sponge, seawater and sediment) and to identify dominant bacterial symbionts of X. testudinaria in a Singaporean coral reef ecosystem. Our results showed that biotope appears to affect the richness, composition and abundance of bacterial communities. Proteobacteria was the most abundant phylum in sediment and seawater whilst Chloroflexi was more abundant in X. testudinaria. Members of the order Caldilineales (fermentation of organic substrates), Chromatiales (purple sulphur bacteria), Rhodospirillales (purple non-sulphur bacteria) and Syntrophobacterales (sulphate-reducing bacteria) were relatively more abundant in X. testudinaria samples.
Forage is the primary feed source for livestock in tropical regions and energy is one of the most important nutrients for ruminant nutrition. The effects of harvest management of Marandu palisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) on non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations were evaluated. A plot (Experiment 1) and a greenhouse study (Experiment 2) were conducted in 2013–14. In Experiment 1, treatments were the factorial arrangement of two harvest times and two vertical canopy layers (upper and intermediate), distributed in a completely randomized design with five replicates. In Experiment 2, treatments were the factorial arrangement of six harvest times and two morphological fractions (leaf blade and pseudostem). In both experiments, NSC concentration increased during the day. Upper and intermediate canopy layers had greater NSC concentration at 15.00 than 06.00 h during spring and summer. In addition, the magnitude of NSC increase was greater in the upper than intermediate canopy layer and in spring than summer. Marandu palisade grass shows greater digestibility in the afternoon than morning, representing an opportunity to optimize energy concentration through harvest management.
The current study aimed to test whether organic matter intake by free-ranging ruminants could be estimated from the amount of nitrogen (N) excreted in faeces and to compare this approach to conventional techniques. An equation describing the relationship between excreted N and nutrient intake was developed in indoor digestibility trials conducted with male sheep (n = 36) and cattle (n = 24) housed in metabolism cages and solely fed hay harvested from a local rangeland. Faecal N excretion was linearly related to organic matter (OM) intake without a significant animal species effect. To evaluate the linear equation, data from free-ranging trials conducted with sheep and cattle were used. The faecal N approach was compared with either in situ digestibility plus external marker (n = 123) or n-alkanes (n = 272) to estimate OM intake and digestible OM intake. Estimates obtained through the faecal N approach did not closely fit those obtained with either conventional technique for any variable. Averaging all individual values, the supply of metabolizable energy (ME) estimated through faecal N was similar to the required level, whereas both the in situ and n-alkanes techniques overestimated ME supply. In conclusion, OM intake by free-ranging sheep and cattle can be estimated based on the amount of N excreted in faeces with some advantages over conventional techniques: knowledge about herbage attributes is not required and it accounts for individual variability on selectivity and digestion processes.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
The objective of the current research was to evaluate the fermentative characteristics of silage made with the upper third section of cassava (Manihot esculenta) plants with added condensed tannin levels of 0, 25, 50 and 75 g/kg dry matter (DM). The experimental design was a complete randomized design, with treatments arranged in a 4 × 7 factorial (tannin addition levels × days of ensiling). The loss of gas and the presence of moulds observed in the opening days had increased linearly. Fermentative characteristics were decreased by the addition of tannin. Acetic acid content showed a linear increase. Tannin levels had a quadratic effect on gas production at 28 days of ensiling. After 56 days, however, tannin levels had no significant effect on silage gas production. After 28 days of ensiling, the degradability of potentially degradable fraction ‘b’ demonstrated quadratic effect. The same occurred with the fractions ‘a’, ‘b’ which were undegradable after 56 days of ensiling. The addition of condensed tannin lengthened the fermentative stage and caused the silage to stabilize after 56 days of ensiling.
The objective of this study was to investigate the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with birth weight, weight gain from birth to weaning and from weaning to yearling, yearling height and cow weight in Nelore cattle. Data from 5064 animals participating in the DeltaGen and PAINT breeding programs were used. The animals were genotyped with a panel of 777 962 SNPs (Illumina BovineHD BeadChip) and 412 993 SNPs remained after quality control analysis of the genomic data. A genome-wide association study was performed using a single-step methodology. The analyses were processed with the BLUPF90 family of programs. When applied to a genome-wide association studies, the single-step GBLUP methodology is an iterative process that estimates weights for the SNPs. The weights of SNPs were included in all analyses by iteratively applying the single-step GBLUP methodology and repeated twice so that the effect of the SNP and the effect of the animal were recalculated in order to increase the weight of SNPs with large effects and to reduce the weight of those with small effects. The genome-wide association results are reported based on the proportion of variance explained by windows of 50 adjacent SNPs. Considering the two iterations, only windows with an additive genetic variance >1.5% were presented in the results. Associations were observed with birth weight on BTA 14, with weight gain from birth to weaning on BTA 5 and 29, with weight gain from weaning to yearling on BTA 11, and with yearling height on BTA 8, showing the genes TMEM68 (transmembrane protein 8B) associated with birth weight and yearling height, XKR4 (XK, Kell blood group complex subunit-related family, member 4) associated with birth weight, NPR2 (natriuretic peptide receptor B) associated with yearling height, and REG3G (regenerating islet-derived 3-gamma) associated with weight gain from weaning to yearling. These genes play an important role in feed intake, weight gain and the regulation of skeletal growth.
In this study, a Leishmania hypothetical protein, LiHyS, was evaluated regarding its antigenicity, immunogenicity and protective efficacy against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Regarding antigenicity, immunoblottings and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using human and canine sera showed high sensitivity and specificity values for the recombinant protein (rLiHyS) in the diagnosis of VL. When evaluating the immunogenicity of LiHyS, which is possibly located in the parasite's flagellar pocket, proliferative assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy subjects or VL patients showed a high proliferative index in both individuals, when compared to the results obtained using rA2 or unstimulated cultures. Later, rLiHyS/saponin was inoculated in BALB/c mice, which were then challenged with Leishmania infantum promastigotes. The vaccine induced an interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-12 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor production, which was maintained after infection and which was associated with high nitrite and IgG2a antibody levels, as well as low IL-4 and IL-10 production. Significant reductions in the parasite load in liver, spleen, bone marrow and draining lymph nodes were found in these animals. In this context, the present study shows that the rLiHyS has the capacity to be evaluated as a diagnostic marker or vaccine candidate against VL.
Nelore heifers usually begin their reproductive life at ⩾24 months of age mainly due to suboptimal nutritional conditions and genetics. This study aimed to determine the effect of expected progeny difference (EPD) for age at first calving and average daily gain (ADG) on puberty in Nelore (Bos taurus indicus) heifers. A total of 58 weaned heifers (initial BW=174±6 kg; age=9±1 months) were allocated into 28 feedlot pens. Heifers were born from four sires, of which two had low EPD for age at first calving (L; n=33) and two had high EPD for age at first calving (H; n=25). Then, heifers of each EPD were randomly assigned to high ADG (HG; 0.7 kg) or low ADG (LG; 0.3 kg), resulting in four treatments: heifers from L sires were submitted to either HG (LHG; n=17) or LG (LLG; n=16), and heifers from H sires were submitted to either HG (HHG; n=12), or LG (HLG; n=13). The HG heifers were fed a 75% grain diet, whereas the LG heifers received 93% of forage in their diet. Blood samples were collected at 9, 14, 18, 24 and 28 months of age for IGF1 and leptin determination. There was a treatment effect (P<0.01) on the proportion of heifers that attained puberty by 18 (62%, 0%, 0% and 0%), 24 (100%, 6%, 54% and 0%) or 36 (100%, 100%, 100% and 38%) months of age for LHG, LLG, HHG and HLG treatments, respectively. In addition, mean age at puberty was different across treatments (P<0.01). Heifers from the LHG achieved puberty at the earliest age when compared with cohorts from other treatments (18.1, 28.9, 23.9 and 34.5 months for LHG, LLG, HHG and HLG, respectively). Serum IGF1 concentrations were higher for L heifers compared with H cohorts at 9, 14, 18, 24 and 28 months of age (P<0.01; treatment×age interaction), whereas circulating leptin concentrations were higher (P<0.01; age effect) as heifers became older, regardless of the treatments. In conclusion, only Nelore heifers with favorable genetic merit for age at first calving were able to attain puberty by 18 months of age. In heifers with unfavorable genetic merit for age at first calving, supplementary feeding to achieve high ADG was unable to shift the age at puberty below 24 months.
The aim of this study was to identify genomic regions that associated with beef tenderness in Nellore cattle. Phenotypes were obtained according to the standard USDA Quality Grade (1999). Data from 909 genotyped Nellore bulls were used in the Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) undertaken using a single-step approach including also a pedigree file composed of 6276 animals. The analyses were performed using the Blupf90 software, estimating the effect of genomic windows of 10 consecutive markers. The GWAS results identified 18 genomic regions located on 14 different chromosomes (1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 29), which explained more than 1% of the total additive genetic variance; several candidate genes were located in these regions including SLC2A9, FRAS1, ANXA3, FAM219A, DNAI, AVEN, SHISA7, UBE2S, CDC42EP5, CNTN3, C16orf96, UBALD1, MGRN1 and SNORA1 With the single-step GWAS, it was possible to identify regions and genes related to meat tenderness in Nellore beef cattle.