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    ABSTRACT: This project aimed to estimate a species' adaptations in nature and in captivity, assess welfare, suggest environmental changes, and find species characteristics that underlie welfare problems in nonhuman animals in the zoo. First, the current status of zoo animal welfare assessment was reviewed, and the behavioral ecology approach was outlined. In this approach, databases of species characteristics were developed using (a) literature of natural behavior and (b) captive behavior. Species characteristics were grouped in 8 functional behavioral ecological fitness-related categories: space, time, metabolic, safety, reproductive, comfort, social, and information adaptations. Assessments of the strength of behavioral adaptations in relation to environmental demands were made based on the results available from the literature. The databases with literature at the species level were coupled with databases of (c) behavioral observations and (d) welfare assessments under captive conditions. Observation and welfare assessment methods were adapted from the animal on the farm realm and applied to zoo species. It was expected that the comparison of the repertoire of behaviors in natural and captive environments would highlight welfare problems, provide solutions to welfare problems by environmental changes, and identify species characteristics underlying zoo animal welfare problems.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
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    ABSTRACT: Training horses improves athletic capabilities by inducing skeletal muscle-specific and systemic adaptations. However, rest is required to recover from exercise or else overtraining may occur and affect performance and welfare. Biomarkers would be useful to identify early chronic overtraining in animals. The objective of the current study was to investigate skeletal muscle gene expression patterns and underlying biological mechanisms related to training of different intensities and detraining. Untrained 20month-old Standardbred geldings were exercised at varying intensities (endurance and sprint) followed by detraining (n=5 per phase). The results indicated that training mainly affected skeletal muscle-specific protein metabolism and increased CO2 export from the tissues. Intensive training increased energy metabolism and affected heart and adipose tissues, while having an adverse effect on stress, apoptosis and immune capacity. The intensity of the training could be related to decreased expression of extra cellular matrix proteins (ECM), cell-cell contacts and intracellular signalling pathways. During detraining, most mechanisms were reversed, but heart tissue-related changes and increased expression of skeletal muscle-specific proteins were still evident. The study suggested that changes to ECM expression and cell-cell contact mechanisms may be long-lasting and related to multifactorial aspects of training and detraining. These biomarkers may be useful to identify horses in the early stages of chronic overloading or early overtraining.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · The Veterinary Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Indirect genetic effects (IGE) occur when the genotype of an individual affects the phenotypic trait value of another conspecific individual. IGEs can have profound effects on both the magnitude and the direction of response to selection. Models of inheritance and response to selection in traits subject to IGEs have been developed within two frameworks; a trait-based framework in which IGEs are specified as a direct consequence of individual trait values, and a variance-component framework in which phenotypic variance is decomposed into a direct and an indirect additive genetic component. This work is a selective review of the quantitative genetics of traits affected by IGEs, with a focus on modelling, estimation and interpretation issues. It includes a discussion on variance-component vs trait-based models of IGEs, a review of issues related to the estimation of IGEs from field data, including the estimation of the interaction coefficient Ψ (psi), and a discussion on the relevance of IGEs for response to selection in cases where the strength of interaction varies among pairs of individuals. An investigation of the trait-based model shows that the interaction coefficient Ψ may deviate considerably from the corresponding regression coefficient when feedback occurs. The increasing research effort devoted to IGEs suggests that they are a widespread phenomenon, probably particularly in natural populations and plants. Further work in this field should considerably broaden our understanding of the quantitative genetics of inheritance and response to selection in relation to the social organisation of populations.Heredity advance online publication, 20 March 2013; doi:10.1038/hdy.2013.15.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Heredity
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