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The present study summarizes several papers on sperm quality in stallions and the state of the art in the search for genomic markers for stallion fertility and infertility. Systematic effects on semen quality traits were investigated in 381 stallions used for artificial insemination (AI) either at the Lower Saxon National Stud Celle or the North Rhine-West-phalian National Stud Warendorf. For these stallions representing 22 breeds, a total of 71,078 fresh semen reports of the years 2001 to 2014 were recorded. Sperm traits analysed were gel-free volume, sperm concentration, total number of sperm, progressive motility and total number of progressively motile sperm. Variance components among stallions within breeds were significant for all semen traits and accounted for 40-59% of the total variance. Heritabilities for semen traits ranged at h2 = 0.13 to 0.28. The correlations among estimated breeding values (EBVs) of semen traits and EBVs for the paternal component of the pregnancy rate per estrus cycle (EBV-PAT) in 100 German Warm-blood stallions were positive and highest for the total number of progressively motile sperm (r = 0.36). A genome-wide association study for de-regressed estimated breeding values (EBVs) of the semen traits in 139 German Warmblood stallions using the Illumina equine SNP50 Beadchip revealed 29 SNPs on 12 different chromosomes as genome-wide significantly associated with the different semen traits. For ten genomic regions we could retrieve candidate genes influencing stallion fertility. Whole genome sequencing data facilitate identification of variants with impact on stallion fertility. We screened whole sequencing data of eleven horses for 1194 male fertility related genes. Filter analysis for variants with high-impact on protein structure and absence of the homozygous mutant genotype gave a total of 19 genetic variants. Subsequent validation in 337 fertile stallions of 19 breeds resulted in ten mutations presumably associated with sub- or infertility in stallions. The splice-site disruption variant g.37455302G > A in NOTCH1 was significantly associated with EBV-PAT and the homozygous mutant genotype was shown as a strong indicator for stallion subfertility. In addition, further nine variants within CFTR, OVGP1, FBX043, TSSK6, PKD1, GHRL, FOXP1, TCP11, SPATA31E1 and NOTCH1 showed absence of the homozygous alternate genotype in fertile stallions and were considered as potential markers of stallion infertility. Estimates of heritabilities for the pregnancy rate per cycle in data from Hanoverians for the years 2008-2014 were moderate at h2 = 0.07-0.13 for the additive genetic paternal, maternal and direct effect. The results of our work in warmblood clearly showed that a positive selection response for stallion fertility may be expected and selection for genetic variants associated with sub- or infertility may significantly enhance genetic progress. © Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.


Labitzke D.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung | Sieme H.,Reproduktionsmedizinische Einheit der Klinik fur Pferde | Martinsson G.,Niedersachsisches Landgestut Celle | Distl O.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung
Zuchtungskunde | Year: 2013

For stallions used in artificial insemination, a permanent high semen quality is required. The objective of this study was to evaluate parameters for semen quality of 30 stallions located at the Lower Saxony National State stud Celle. Daily records from the breeding stations were used for the present study in order to quantify the variation within and between the different stallions. The variance component among stallions had been significant for all parameters except libido. The relative proportion of variance of the random stallion effect ranged from 50 to 91%. The variance component among stallions within breeding years only explained 3 to 14% of the total variance. The systematic effects of breeding year, season and breeding station showed significant differences for all parameters of the analysis. We can conclude from the analysis of the semen quality parameters that the semen quality is mainly determined by the stallion and that the stallions show a constant level in their semen quality. © Verlage Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.


Dammgen U.,Johann Heinrich Von Thunen Institute | Brade W.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung | Schulz J.,Landwirtschaftskammer Niedersachsen | Haenel H.-D.,Johann Heinrich Von Thunen Institute | Rosemann C.,Johann Heinrich Von Thunen Institute
Zuchtungskunde | Year: 2011

A survey was made in the rural districts of Lower Saxony to record feeds customary in pig production as well as the respective feeding strategies (one, two and three phase feeding without and with crude protein reduction, numbers of animal rounds). The German agricultural emission model GAS EM was used to assess the respective excretion rates of methane from enteric fermentation, of volatile solids and of total and renally excreted nitrogen. A considerable reduction of excretion rates was found as compared to the estimates hitherto calculated, of volatile solids and renal nitrogen, resulting in emission reductions of methane (for 2007: 8% or 2.2 Gg a-1) and ammonia (for 2007 22% or 4.8 Gg a-1). © Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.


Brade W.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Distl O.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung
Berichte uber Landwirtschaft | Year: 2015

Archaea are an important part of the ruminal microbiome. Although the methanogenic archaea make up only a small part of the microbial biomass in the rumen, they play an extremely important role in the whole rumen physiology. Their ability to utilize hydrogen (H2), reduces the inhibitory effect of H2 on the total microbial fermentation in the rumen. This review article summarizes the current knowledge of archaea in the rumen and describes possible approaches to further reduce the methane emissions of cattle. We are still far from being able to manipulate the ruminal microbiome selectively and on a large scale in practice. However, it remains a strategic objective.


Brade W.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Distl O.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung
Berichte uber Landwirtschaft | Year: 2015

Ruminants depend on their microbiota to digest their feed. It is therefore very tempting to prove a link between the composition and quantity of various rumen bacteria and the physiological parameters of the host. The gene products (enzymes) of ruminal microorganisms take over tasks that are not anchored in the ruminant (host) genome such as the degradation of nutritional components (for example cellulose) that they are not capable of digesting by themselves. The development of new high-throughput methods in molecular biology is rapidly increasing the knowledge of the ruminal microbiome (the totality of microbial organisms in the rumen of a ruminant). One important conclusion is that the ruminal microbial ecosystem is connected directly to the rumen fermentation pattern. To sum up, it can be said that: feeding affects both the ruminal microbiome and the fermentation in the rumen, balanced energy and nitrogen supply are an important key to ensure high profitability and environmental impact in dairy or beef production. This paper will provide new insights into the structural and functional diversity of the ruminal microbiome as well as into the multilayered existing complex interactions (feeding-microbiome-host). However, we are now only beginning to explore the ruminal microbiota of our ruminants. One might assume that the associated research constitutes the deepest basic research, strictly limited to livestock production. But that is just not so! It may be expected that ruminal microbiome research, which has attracted the interest of biogas and biofuel producers for a long time, probably has many things in store for us. The coexistence of microbes with their ruminant hosts - The result of joint co-evolution over millions of years - should be a model for how we could solve, by systematically using microorganisms in specially built facilities, our energy problems and increasing our protein needs in the future. Therefore, this new research area has a high priority for the entire food and energy production based on biomass. The following second report focuses its analysis on the archaea.


Brade W.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Distl O.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung
Berichte uber Landwirtschaft | Year: 2015

The rumen is a pre-gastric fermentation chamber and a very complex microbial ecosystem. It was formed over many millions of years as the result of the co-evolution of ruminants with numerous microorganisms. The success of this co-evolution has long aroused the attention of biotechnologists. For this reason, ruminal microbiota research is not limited to the specific objectives of animal nutrition research, but is increasingly part of total agricultural research, including bioenergy production. very high variety and diversity of microorganisms coexist in the rumen. They are well adapted to the prevailing anoxic conditions and to the redox potential of about - 300 to - 400 mV, a pH of about 6.3 to 6.5 and a constant temperature of about 39° C. The symbiosis between ruminants (hosts) and their microbiome is of mutual benefit. The host provides, for example, nutrients (cellulose and other plant polysaccharides) and ensures optimal living conditions for its ruminal microbiome. For the host, the microorganisms digest specific nutrients and provide proteins, amino acids, and essential vitamins. An extraordinarily high number of bacteria, unicellular eukaryotic protists and other community members are involved in this symbiosis in the rumen. The number of protozoa, mainly ciliates, is about 0.5 million per milliliter of rumen fluid. They live on bacteria, but can also ferment cellulose or starch. In contrast to bacteria, they are not vital to the host. Flagellates are another group of unicellular eukaryotic organisms in the rumen. Methanogenesis (as an energy-consuming process) is reinforced in faunated animals. A reduction in ruminal protozoan density (defaunation) is generally associated with a reduction in methane emissions per kilogram of feed dry matter intake. In addition, yeasts and other anaerobic fungi are present in lower density in the rumen. They are also involved in the degradation of hemicelluloses and other polymers or in the biological conversion of lignin. The understanding of the symbiotic relationships within the ruminal microbiome and between host and his ruminal microbiome is an important key to make milk and beef production more environmentally-friendly, while drawing also important conclusions about future biogas production.


Brade W.,Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology | Distl O.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung
Berichte uber Landwirtschaft | Year: 2016

The intestinal microbiome represents the totality of the existing gut microorganisms. The manifold symbioses between monogastric animals (hosts) and intestinal microbiota, or between the numerous species of the intestinal microbial community, are mutually beneficial. For example, the hosts provide nutrients (cellulose, polysaccharides et cetera) and ensure the best possible living conditions for the intestinal microbiota. The microorganisms break down roughage (for the host) and also provide him with amino acids and essential vitamins. At the same time, the intestinal microbiome is involved in the development of the host-specific immune system. Where the development of special (intestinal) diseases - due to a dysfunction of the mucosa barrier (mucosal barrier) - is concerned, participation of various microbial species might equally play a significant role. Already short-term use of antibiotics demonstrably changes the biodiversity of the host's intestinal bacterial community. In addition, an increase in antibiotic resistance genes can be observed in the treated pigs and, interestingly, this also holds true for some resistance genes to some antibiotics that were not administered. A better understanding of the relationship between the intestinal microbiome and disease prevention might be provided by new strategies, specifically where the prevention of diseases is concerned, for example, through use of probiotics instead of antibiotics for the feeding of juveniles or fattening animals. There is an urgent need for further research for this reason.


Dammgen U.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung | Hahne J.,Johann Heinrich Von Thunen Institute | Haenel H.-D.,Johann Heinrich Von Thunen Institute | Rosemann C.,Johann Heinrich Von Thunen Institute
Gefahrstoffe Reinhaltung der Luft | Year: 2010

In pig production, air scrubbers are used to reduce emissions of odour, ammonia and particulate matter. Whereas non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and particulate matter are removed from the exhaust air without further effects on the emission characteristics, the removal of nitrogen species affects the whole production system. This has to be considered in the emission inventory. In particular, the formation of nitrous oxide in the scrubber is highly relevant, but also the emissions from slurry storage and application as well as from the soil after slurry application. The application of air scrubbers also leads to changes in indirect emissions of nitrous oxide. A mass flow model for nitrogen in air scrubbers and the subsequent flows of nitrogen species is presented. Exemplary calculations for commonly used scrubber systems in Germany are shown and the results are discussed.


Blum M.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung | Distl O.,Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung
Berliner und Munchener Tierarztliche Wochenschrift | Year: 2014

In the present study, breeding values for canine congenital sensorineural deafness, the presence of blue eyes and patches have been predicted using multivariate animal models to test the reliability of the breeding values for planned matings. The dataset consisted of 6669 German Dalmatian dogs born between 1988 and 2009. Data were provided by the Dalmatian kennel clubs which are members of the German Association for Dog Breeding and Husbandry (VDH). The hearing status for all dogs was evaluated using brainstem auditory evoked potentials. The reliability using the prediction error variance of breeding values and the realized reliability of the prediction of the phenotype of future progeny born in each one year between 2006 and 2009 were used as parameters to evaluate the goodness of prediction through breeding values. All animals from the previous birth years were used for prediction of the breeding values of the progeny in each of the up-coming birth years. The breeding values based on pedigree records achieved an average reliability of 0.19 for the future 1951 progeny. The predictive accuracy (R2) for the hearing status of single future progeny was at 1.3%. Combining breeding values for littermates increased the predictive accuracy to 3.5%. Corresponding values for maternal and paternal half-sib groups were at 3.2 and 7.3%. The use of breeding values for planned matings increases the phenotypic selection response over mass selection. The breeding values of sires may be used for planned matings because reliabilities and predictive accuracies for future paternal progeny groups were highest. © 2014 Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG.


PubMed | Institute For Tierzucht Und Vererbungsforschung
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Berliner und Munchener tierarztliche Wochenschrift | Year: 2014

In the present study, breeding values for canine congenital sensorineural deafness, the presence of blue eyes and patches have been predicted using multivariate animal models to test the reliability of the breeding values for planned matings. The dataset consisted of 6669 German Dalmatian dogs born between 1988 and 2009. Data were provided by the Dalmatian kennel clubs which are members of the German Association for Dog Breeding and Husbandry (VDH). The hearing status for all dogs was evaluated using brainstem auditory evoked potentials. The reliability using the prediction error variance of breeding values and the realized reliability of the prediction of the phenotype of future progeny born in each one year between 2006 and 2009 were used as parameters to evaluate the goodness of prediction through breeding values. All animals from the previous birth years were used for prediction of the breeding values of the progeny in each of the up-coming birth years. The breeding values based on pedigree records achieved an average reliability of 0.19 for the future 1951 progeny. The predictive accuracy (R2) for the hearing status of single future progeny was at 1.3%. Combining breeding values for littermates increased the predictive accuracy to 3.5%. Corresponding values for maternal and paternal half-sib groups were at 3.2 and 7.3%. The use of breeding values for planned matings increases the phenotypic selection response over mass selection. The breeding values of sires may be used for planned matings because reliabilities and predictive accuracies for future paternal progeny groups were highest.

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