animal (ANIMAL )

Publisher: British Society of Animal Science; Institut national de la recherche agronomique (France); European Association for Animal Production, Cambridge University Press


Animal attracts the best research in animal biology and animal systems from across the spectrum of the agricultural, biomedical, and environmental sciences. It is the central element in an exciting collaboration between the British Society of Animal Science (BSAS), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) and the European Federation for Animal Science (EAAP) and represents a merging of three scientific journals: Animal Science; Animal Research; Reproduction, Nutrition, Development. animal publishes original cutting-edge research, 'hot' topics and horizon-scanning reviews on animal-related aspects of the life sciences at the molecular, cellular, organ, whole animal and production system levels. The main subject areas include: breeding and genetics; nutrition; physiology and functional biology of systems; behaviour, health and welfare; farming systems, environmental impact and climate change; product quality, human health and well-being. Animal models and papers dealing with the integration of research between these topics and their impact on the environment and people are particularly welcome.

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    Animal (Cambridge, England)
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Cambridge University Press

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    • Publisher last reviewed on 07/10/2014
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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The health-promoting properties of dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFAs) for humans are well known. Products of animal-origin enriched with n-3 LCPUFAs can be a good example of functional food, i.e. food that besides traditionally understood nutritional value may have a beneficial influence on the metabolism and health of consumers, thus reducing the risk of various lifestyle diseases such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. The traditional method of enriching meat, milk, or eggs with n-3 LCPUFA is the manipulation of the composition of animal diets. Huge progress in the development of genetic engineering techniques, for example transgenesis, has enabled the generation of many kinds of genetically modified (GM) animals. In recent years, one of the aims of animal transgenesis has been the modification of the lipid composition of meat and milk in order to improve the dietetic value of animal-origin products. This article reviews and discusses the data in the literature concerning studies where techniques of genetic engineering were used to create animal-origin products modified to contain health-promoting lipids. These studies are still at the laboratory stage, but their results have demonstrated that the transgenesis of pigs, cows, goats and fishes can be used in the future as efficient methods of production of healthy animal-origin food of high dietetic value. However, due to high costs and a low level of public acceptance, the introduction of this technology to commercial animal production and markets seems to be a distant prospect.
    animal 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) transcription is driven by alternative promoters to produce different exon 1 mRNA variants. CpG methylation on GR promoters profoundly affects GR transcription. GR in hippocampus is critical for energy homeostasis and stress responses, yet it remains unclear whether hippocampal expression of GR exon 1 mRNA variants and the methylation status of GR promoters differ between Large White (LW) and Erhualian (EHL) pigs showing distinct metabolic and stress-coping characteristics. EHL pigs had higher hippocampus weight relative to BW (P<0.01), which was associated with higher serum cortisol level compared with LW pigs. Hippocampal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (P<0.05) was significantly higher, while Bax, a pro-apoptotic gene, was significantly lower in EHL pigs (P<0.05). Hippocampal expression of total GR did not differ between breeds, yet GR exon 1 to 11 mRNA was significantly higher (P<0.01) in EHL pigs, which was associated with a trend of increase (P=0.057) in GR protein content. No significant breed difference was detected for the methylation status across the whole region of the proximal GR promoter, while CpG334 and CpG266.267 were differentially methylated, in a reversed manner, between breeds. The methylation status of CpGs 248, 259, 260, 268 and 271 was negatively correlated (P<0.05) with GR exon 1 to 11 mRNA abundance. Our results provide fundamental information on the breed-specific characteristics of GR and its mRNA variants expression and the status of DNA methylation on the proximal GR promoter in the pig hippocampus.
    animal 11/2014; 8(11):1851-6.
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to assess the impact of selection for residual feed intake (RFI) on the behavioural activity of lines divergently selected for RFI during seven generations. In all, six successive batches from the seventh generation of selection were raised in collective pens equipped with a single-place electronic feeder (SEF) from 10 weeks of age to 100 kg BW. Each batch included four groups of 12 pigs: high RFI (RFI+) castrated males, RFI+ females, low RFI (RFI-) castrated males, RFI- females. At 17 weeks of age, health criteria were evaluated using a gradient scale for increased severity of lameness, body lesions, bursae and tail biting. Individual behavioural activities were recorded by 24-h video tape on the day after health evaluation. The investigative motivation towards unfamiliar objects was quantified at 18 weeks of age. The daily individual feeding patterns were computed from SEF records during the 4 weeks surrounding 12, 17 and 22 weeks of age. All pigs spent significantly most of their time lying in diurnal (80% of total scan) and nocturnal (>89%) periods. The RFI- pigs showed a lower proportion of health problems (P<0.01) than RFI+ pigs. The RFI- pigs used the SEF less than the RFI+ pigs, in diurnal (5.3% v. 6.4% of video scans, P<0.05) and nocturnal periods (3.6% v. 4.5% of video scans, P<0.05). This was confirmed by a significantly lower daily number and duration of visits to the SEF computed from the SEF data. The feeding activity measured from the video recording was significantly correlated (R>0.34; P<0.05) with feeding patterns computed from the SEF. The RFI- pigs spent less time standing over the 24-h period (9.7% v. 12.2% of scans, i.e. 35 min/day, P<0.05). In terms of energy costs, this amounted to 14% of the line difference in terms of daily metabolizable energy intake. The castrated males used the SEF more than females, especially at night (4.7% v. 3.4% of total scans, P<0.05), whereas females displayed greater investigation of their environment (7.7±0.3% v. 6.6±0.2% of total scans, P<0.05) and the novel objects (10.7% v. 4.9% of total scans, P<0.05). In conclusion, the lower physical activity associated with reduced energy expenditure in RFI- pigs compared with RFI+ pigs contributed significantly to their improved efficiency and was not related to worsened health scores.
    animal 11/2014; 8(11):1898-906.
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to identify genetic evaluation models (GEM) to accurately select cattle for milk production when only limited data are available. It is based on a data set from the Pakistani Sahiwal progeny testing programme which includes records from five government herds, each consisting of 100 to 350 animals, with lactation records dating back to 1968. Different types of GEM were compared, namely: (1) multivariate v. repeatability model when using the first three lactations, (2) an animal v. a sire model, (3) different fixed effects models to account for effects such as herd, year and season; and (4) fitting a model with genetic parameters fixed v. estimating the genetic parameters as part of the model fitting process. Two methods were used for the comparison of models. The first method used simulated data based on the Pakistani progeny testing system and compared estimated breeding values with true breeding values. The second method used cross-validation to determine the best model in subsets of actual Australian herd-recorded data. Subsets were chosen to reflect the Pakistani data in terms of herd size and number of herds. Based on the simulation and the cross-validation method, the multivariate animal model using fixed genetic parameters was generally the superior GEM, but problems arise in determining suitable values for fixing the parameters. Using mean square error of prediction, the best fixed effects structure could not be conclusively determined. The simulation method indicated the simplest fixed effects structure to be superior whereas in contrast, the cross-validation method on actual data concluded that the most complex one was the best. In conclusion it is difficult to propose a universally best GEM that can be used in any data set of this size. However, some general recommendations are that it is more appropriate to estimate the genetic parameters when evaluating for selection purposes, the animal model was superior to the sire model and that in the Pakistani situation the repeatability model is more suitable than a multivariate.
    animal 10/2014; 8(10):1577-85.
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    ABSTRACT: Glutamate, which is one of the most important contributors to oxidative metabolism in the intestinal mucosa, is mainly transported by the excitatory amino acids transporters (EAATs) that are expressed in enterocytes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of in ovo administration of l-trans pyrrolidine-2,4-dicarboxylic acid (l-trans-PDC), a potent competitive inhibitor of glutamate uptake by EAATs, on the growth of the small intestine in chicks. Two series of experiments were conducted with hatching eggs; 100 μl of various l-trans-PDC solutions (0, 0.075 or 0.225 mg/egg for the Control group, low-dose l-trans pyrrolidine 2,4-dicarboxylic acid group (L-PDC) or high-dose l-trans pyrrolidine 2,4-dicarboxylic acid group (H-PDC), respectively) was injected into the albumen sac of these hatching eggs before incubation. Hatchlings were sacrificed by cervical dislocation to determine the embryonic development in Experiment I, whereas the birds in Experiment II were raised or sampled at hatching, days 7 and 14 (D7 and D14) for further study. Gene expression in the small intestines was determined by real-time RT-PCR; and serum concentration of free amino acids was determined by an amino acid analyzer. The results showed that the hatchability was decreased by in ovo administration of l-trans-PDC. The small intestinal weights of the H-PDC group were decreased (P<0.05) at hatching and increased (P<0.05) on D7 and D14 compared with those in the Control group. In addition, the gene expression of EAAT2 in the completed or segmental small intestines was not changed (P>0.05); EAAT3 gene expression in the duodenum (P<0.05), jejunum (P=0.084) and ileum (P=0.060) on D14 was lower in the H-PDC group than in the Control group. Furthermore, the serum concentrations of free proline, threonine and phenylalanine but not glutamate or aspartate were increased (P<0.06) in H-PDC group. In conclusion, this paper is the first to report that in ovo administration of l-trans-PDC induces small intestinal growth retardation during the embryonic period and catch-up growth after hatching.
    animal 10/2014; 8(10):1677-83.
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    ABSTRACT: Paratuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) causes economic losses and is present in dairy herds worldwide. Different studies used different diagnostic tests to detect infection status and are the basis of genome-wide association (GWA) studies with inconsistent results. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify and compare genomic regions associated with MAP susceptibility in the same cohort of cattle using different diagnostic tests. The GWA study was performed in German Holsteins within a case-control assay using 305 cows tested for MAP by fecal culture and additional with four different commercial ELISA-tests. Genotyping was performed with the Illumina Bovine SNP50 BeadChip. The results using fecal culture or ELISA test led to the identification of different genetic loci. Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms showed significant association with the ELISA-status. However, no significant association for MAP infection could be confirmed. Our results show that the definition of the MAP-phenotype has an important impact on the outcome of GWA studies for paratuberculosis.
    animal 10/2014; 8(10):1586-93.
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    ABSTRACT: Calf milk replacers (MR) commonly contain 40% to 50% lactose. For economic reasons, starch is of interest as a lactose replacer. Compared with lactose, starch digestion is generally low in calves. It is, however, unknown which enzyme limits the rate of starch digestion. The objectives were to determine which enzyme limits starch digestion and to assess the maximum capacity for starch digestion in milk-fed calves. A within-animal titration study was performed, where lactose was exchanged stepwise for one of four starch products (SP). The four corn-based SP differed in size and branching, therefore requiring different ratios of starch-degrading enzymes for their complete hydrolysis to glucose: gelatinised starch (α-amylase and (iso)maltase); maltodextrin ((iso)maltase and α-amylase); maltodextrin with α-1,6-branching (isomaltase, maltase and α-amylase) and maltose (maltase). When exceeding the animal's capacity to enzymatically hydrolyse starch, fermentation occurs, leading to a reduced faecal dry matter (DM) content and pH. Forty calves (13 weeks of age) were assigned to either a lactose control diet or one of four titration strategies (n=8 per treatment), each testing the stepwise exchange of lactose for one SP. Dietary inclusion of each SP was increased weekly by 3% at the expense of lactose and faecal samples were collected from the rectum weekly to determine DM content and pH. The increase in SP inclusion was stopped when faecal DM content dropped below 10.6% (i.e. 75% of the average initial faecal DM content) for 3 consecutive weeks. For control calves, faecal DM content and pH did not change over time. For 87% of the SP-fed calves, faecal DM and pH decreased already at low inclusion levels, and linear regression provided a better fit of the data (faecal DM content or pH v. time) than non-linear regression. For all SP treatments, faecal DM content and pH decreased in time (P<0.001) and slopes for faecal DM content and pH in time differed from CON; P<0.001 for all SP), but did not differ between SP treatments. Faecal DM content of SP-fed calves decreased by 0.57% and faecal pH by 0.32 per week. In conclusion, faecal DM content and pH sensitively respond to incremental inclusion of SP in calf MR, independently of SP characteristics. All SP require maltase to achieve complete hydrolysis to glucose. We therefore suggest that maltase activity limits starch digestion and that fermentation may contribute substantially to total tract starch disappearance in milk-fed calves.
    animal 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The chemical composition inclusive amino acids (AAs) and the energy and protein value of three wheat, three maize and seven blend (mainly wheat) dried distillers grains and solubles (DDGS) were determined. The net energy for lactation (NEL) was derived from digestion coefficients obtained with sheep. The digestible protein in the intestines (DVE) and the degraded protein balance (OEB) were determined by nylon bag incubations in the rumen and the intestines of cannulated cows. Additional chemical parameters like acid-detergent insoluble CP (ADICP), protein solubility in water, in borate-phosphate buffer and in pepsin-HCl, in vitro digestibility (cellulase, protease, rumen fluid) and colour scores (L*, a*, b*) were evaluated as potential predictors of the energy and protein value. Compared to wheat DDGS (WDDGS), maize DDGS (MDDGS) had a higher NEL-value (8.49 v. 7.38 MJ/kg DM), a higher DVE-content (216 v. 198 g/kg DM) and a lower OEB-value (14 v. 66 g/kg DM). The higher energy value of MDDGS was mainly due to the higher crude fat (CFA) content (145 v. 76 g/kg DM) and also to better digestible cell-walls, whereas the higher protein value was mainly due to the higher percentage of rumen bypass protein (RBP: 69.8 v. 55.6%). The NEL-value of blend DDGS (BDDGS) was in between that of the pure DDGS-types, whereas its DVE-value was similar to MDDGS. Although lower in CP and total AAs, MDDGS provided a similar amount of essential AAs as the other DDGS-types. Lysine content was most reduced in the production of WDDGS and cysteine in MDDGS. Fat content explained 68.6% of the variation in NEL, with hemicellulose and crude ash as extra explaining variables. The best predictor for RBP as well as for OEB was the protein solubility in pepsin-HCl (R 2=77.3% and 83.5%). Intestinal digestibility of RBP could best be predicted by ADF (R 3=73.6%) and the combination of CFA and NDF could explain 60.2% of the variation in the content of absorbable microbial protein. The availability of AAs could accurately be predicted from the rumen bypass and intestinal digestibility of CP.
    animal 07/2014; 8(11):1839-1850.
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    ABSTRACT: Twenty ruminally cannulated beef heifers were fed a high corn grain diet in a randomized block design to determine the effect of three direct fed microbial (DFM) strains of Propionibacterium on ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and methane (CH4) emissions. The heifers were blocked in five groups on the basis of BW and used in five 28-day periods. Dietary treatments included (1) Control and three strains of Propionibacterium (2) P169, (3) P5, and (4) P54. Strains were administered directly into the rumen at 5×109 CFU with 10 g of a maltodextrin carrier in a gel capsule; Control heifers received carrier only. All heifers were fed the basal diet (10 : 90 forage to concentrate, dry matter basis). Rumen contents were collected on days 15 and 18, ruminal pH was measured continuously between days 15 and 22, enteric CH4 emissions were measured between days 19 and 22 and diet digestibility was measured from days 25 to 28. Mean ruminal pH was 5.91 and was not affected by treatments. Similarly, duration of time that pH<5.8 and 5.6 was not affected by treatment. Likewise, total and major volatile fatty acid profiles were similar among all treatments. No effects were observed on dry matter intake and total tract digestibility of nutrients. Total enteric CH4 production (g/day) was not affected by Propionibacterium strains and averaged 139 g/day. Similarly, mean CH4 yield (g CH4/kg of dry matter intake) was similar for all the treatments. The relative abundance of total Propionibacteria in the rumen increased with administration of DFM and were greater 3 h post-dosing relative to Control, but returned to baseline levels before feeding. Populations of Propionibacterium P169 were higher at 3 and 9 h as compared with the levels at 0 h. In conclusion, moderate persistency of the inoculated strains within the ruminal microbiome and pre-existing high propionate production due to elevated levels of starch fermentation might have reduced the efficacy of Propionibacterium strains to increase molar proportion of propionate and subsequently reduce CH4 emissions.
    animal 07/2014; 8(11):1805-1815.
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to establish reference interval for biochemical parameters in blood of alpacas on the basis of large population of clinically healthy animals, and to determine the influence of sex, age and season on nitrogen and lipid metabolites, enzymes, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals in blood of alpacas. Blood samples were collected from 311 alpacas (61 males and 201 females >6 months of age and 49 crias (21 males and 28 females) ⩽ 6 months of age). Selected farms were located in Central Europe (Czech Republic and Germany). We determined 24 biochemical parameters from blood serum. We performed the comparison of results by the sex of animals and for the older group also the comparison of the results with regard to the season, respectively, to the feeding period. We found no highly significant difference (P<0.01) between males and females with the exception of γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and cholesterol. We found 15 significantly different parameters between the group of crias 6 months of age and the older alpacas. Based on our findings we suggest for most parameters to use different reference intervals (especially ALP, cholesterol, total protein, globulin, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), GGT and phosphorus) for the two above-mentioned age groups. Another important finding is the differences between some parameters in older group of alpacas in summer/winter feeding period. Animals in the summer feeding period have higher values of parameters related to fat mobilization (β-hydroxybutyrate, NEFA) and liver metabolism (bilirubin, alanine aminotransferase). The winter period with increased feeding of supplements with higher amount of fat, vitamins and minerals is characteristic by increased values of cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamins A and E, and some minerals (K, Ca, Mg and Cl) in blood serum. Clinical laboratory diagnosis of metabolic disturbances may be improved with use of age-based reference values and with consideration of seasonal differences. (Animal 2014, 8(9): 1448-1455) press)
    animal 05/2014;
  • animal 01/2014; 8(8).
  • animal 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The DVE/OEB2010 system in the Netherlands uses a large database of in situ rumen incubations with grass silage and grass hay samples to derive prediction formulas to estimate the rumen degradation characteristics of a number of feed value parameters. These in situ rumen incubations were not performed for this specific purpose and the data were generated at different research institutes over more than 40 years, using different grass management and fertilization practices and using different protocols. The objectives of this study were to 1) generate a new database on the rumen degradability of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) of grass silages, 2) compare this new database with the old database used in the DVE/OEB2010 system, and 3) derive regression equations using the new database to investigate the relationships between chemical composition and in situ ruminal degradation characteristics of DM, OM, CP and NDF of the grass silages. Sixty nine grass silages, with a broad range in chemical composition and quality parameters, were selected and incubated using the nylon bag technique in the rumen of three lactating Holstein Friesian cows for 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 72 and 336 h. There was a large range in the rumen degradable fractions of DM, OM, CP and NDF of the grass silages at each rumen incubation period. The data on the rumen degradation characteristics of DM, OM, CP and NDF in the present study were determined using the same standard incubation protocol, the same cows, and the same chemical analysis procedures for all the grass silage samples. Regression analysis, using the new database, showed relationships between the washable (W) fraction, rumen undegradable (U) fraction, potentially rumen degradable (D) fraction and effective rumen degradation (ED) of DM, OM, CP and NDF, respectively, and the chemical composition of the grass silages.
    animal 01/2014;