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Ocean Grove, Australia

Kershaw-Young C.M.,University of Sydney | Druart X.,University of Tours | Vaughan J.,Cria Genesis | Maxwell W.M.C.,University of Sydney
Reproduction, Fertility and Development | Year: 2012

Ovulation in camelids is induced by an unidentified protein in the seminal plasma of the male termed 'ovulation-inducing factor'. This protein has been reportedto be a 14-kDa protein under reducing conditions, which, when purified from seminal plasma, induces ovulation in llamas. The identification of this protein and investigation of its potential to induce ovulation in camelids may aid the development of protocols for the induction of ovulation. In the present study, alpaca seminal plasma proteins were separated using one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and the most abundant protein of 14kDa was identified as β-nerve growth factor (β-NGF) by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. Female alpacas (n=5 per group) were given intramuscular injections of: (1) 1mL of 0.9% saline; (2) 4 mg buserelin, a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonist; (3) 2 mL alpaca seminal plasma; or (4) 1 mg human β-NGF. Ovulation was detected by transrectal ultrasonography 8 days after treatment and confirmed by plasma progesterone concentrations. Ovulation occurred in 0%, 80%, 80% and 80% of animals treated with saline, buserelin, seminal plasma and β-NGF, respectively. Treatment type did not affect the diameter of the corpus luteum, but plasma progesterone concentrations were lower in saline-treated animals than in the other treatment groups owing to the lack of a corpus luteum. The present study is the first to identify the ovulation-inducing factor protein in alpacas. β-NGF successfully induces ovulation in alpacas and this finding may lead to new methods for the induction of ovulation in camelids. © CSIRO 2012.

Vaughan J.,Cria Genesis | Mihm M.,University of Glasgow | Wittek T.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna
Animal Reproduction Science | Year: 2013

Embryo transfer offers great advantages to South American camelid farmers to reach their breeding goals but the technology still plays a relatively minor role in comparison to other domestic farm animals like cattle. The aim of the present study was to analyse a data set of 5547 single or multiple ovulation embryo transfers performed in commercial alpaca farms in Australia to determine the factors that influence number and quality of embryos produced, embryo transfer success (percentage of crias born) and gestation length following transfer. Logistic binary regression identified the variables day of flushing after mating, embryo diameter, embryo quality, day of transfer after GnRH, and the age of the recipient to have significant impact on the outcome measure embryo transfer success. Transfer of smaller embryos or lower quality embryos resulted in decreased transfer success rates. Optimal days for obtaining embryos from donors were Days 8 and 9 after mating, optimal days for transfer into recipients were Days 7 and 8 after GnRH treatment. Age (>15 years) and body condition of recipients <2 also lowered transfer success rates, while the summer heat had no adverse impact. However, season did influence gestation length, while cria gender did not. In conclusion, results from the analysis of this very large dataset can underpin new recommendations to improve embryo transfer success in alpacas. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Stuart C.C.,University of Sydney | Vaughan J.L.,Cria Genesis | Kershaw-Young C.M.,University of Sydney | Wilkinson J.,Baarrooka Alpacas | And 2 more authors.
Reproduction, Fertility and Development | Year: 2015

Ovulation in camelids is induced by the seminal plasma protein ovulation-inducing factor (OIF), recently identified as β-nerve growth factor (β-NGF). The present study measured the total protein concentration in alpaca seminal plasma using a bicinchoninic acid (BCA) protein quantification assay and found it to be 22.2±2.0mgmL-1. To measure the effects of varying doses of β-NGF on the incidence and timing of ovulation, corpus luteum (CL) size and plasma progesterone concentration, 24 female alpacas were synchronised and treated with either: (1) 1mL 0.9% saline (n≤5); (2) 4'g buserelin (n≤5); (3) 1mg β-NGF protein (n≤5); (4) 0.1mg β-NGF (n≤5); or (5) 0.01mg β-NGF (n≤4). Females were examined by transrectal ultrasonography at 1-2-h intervals between 20 and 45h after treatment or until ovulation occurred, as well as on Day 8 to observe the size of the CL, at which time blood was collected to measure plasma progesterone concentrations. Ovulation was detected in 0/5, 5/5, 5/5, 3/5 and 0/4 female alpacas treated with saline, buserelin, 1, 0.1 and 0.01mg β-NGF, respectively. Mean ovulation interval (P≤0.76), CL diameter (P≤0.96) and plasma progesterone concentration (P≤0.96) did not differ between treatments. Mean ovulation interval overall was 26.2±1.0h. In conclusion, buserelin and 1mg β-NGF are equally effective at inducing ovulation in female alpacas, but at doses ≤0.1mg, β-NGF is not a reliable method for the induction of ovulation. © 2015 CSIRO.

Vaughan J.,Cria Genesis
Animal Reproduction Science | Year: 2011

Ultrasound technology and hormone assays have provided a better understanding of folliculogenesis and ovulation in South American camelids in the last two decades. Females exhibit waves of ovarian follicular growth and are induced ovulators and therefore do not exhibit oestrous cycles in the manner of spontaneously ovulating species such as sheep and cattle. There is much variation in inter-wave interval among camelid species (alpaca/llama 10-22 days, vicuna 4-11 days), within species and within individual animals as the range of each phase of follicular growth is wide. Ovulation occurs 24-30 h after mating and luteolysis occurs approximately 10 days later if conception fails to occur. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Lund K.E.,University of Western Australia | Milton J.T.B.,University of Western Australia | Milton J.T.B.,Independent Laboratory Services | Maloney S.K.,University of Western Australia | And 3 more authors.
Animal Production Science | Year: 2012

There is evidence that alpacas derive most of their glucose for energy from the deamination of amino acids. Consequently, they may have an insufficient supply of amino acids to meet their requirements for fibre growth. To optimise fibre production, it may be necessary to supply alpacas with supplemental protein to meet their requirement for extra amino acids. In this study, we examined if the proportion of rumen-degradable dietary protein (RDP) to undegradable dietary protein (UDP) from canola meal influenced the fibre growth of alpacas. We hypothesised that alpacas fed at maintenance a diet containing canola meal protein high in UDP would produce more fibre and spend less time urinating than peers fed a similar amount of canola meal protein with a low proportion of UDP. Four groups of eight alpacas were fed diets with the following ratios of UDP:RDP: 0:100, 30:70, 60:40 or 100:0 from canola meal protein. The fibre growth of the animals was measured over 2 months and the behaviour of the animals in the two extreme groups (0 and 100% UDP) was measured over 5 days. The alpacas fed the 0% UDP diet produced fibre of finer diameter than the alpacas fed diets containing higher levels of UDP (P = 0.039) and the 0% UDP group also spent more time urinating (P = 0.027). This result suggests that alpacas may have a limited ability to recycle nitrogen to the fermentative chambers of their stomach when fed a diet low in UDP. Consequently, microbial protein synthesis in the fermentative chambers may have limited the supply of amino acids available to the alpacas. © 2012 CSIRO.

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