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Armidale, Australia

Bickell S.L.,University of Western Australia | Bickell S.L.,Sheep Cooperative Research Center | Revell D.K.,University of Western Australia | Revell D.K.,CSIRO | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2014

The patterns of feed intake when animals are allowed ad libitum access to feed in a respiration chamber is not known, nor are the potential effects of the artificial environment of chambers on voluntary feed intake. The objectives of the study were to describe the pattern of hourly feed intake of sheep when fed for ad libitum intake in respiration chambers and determine the repeatability of this pattern and the correlation between feed intake and methane production calculated at hourly intervals. Daily and hourly measurements of methane production and feed intake of 47 Merino wethers were measured in respiration chambers twice, 4 wk apart. We found that hourly feed intake of sheep with ad libitum access to feed in respiration chambers showed a repeatable pattern over the 2 measurement periods (r = 0.89, P < 0.001). During both measurements, sheep ate continuously throughout the 23 h period, but most of the eating occurred during the first 8 h in the respiration chambers. There was a significant linear correlation (r = 0.22) between hourly feed intake and hourly methane production (P < 0.001). An unexpected result from this study was that despite using an accepted and published acclimatization procedure to habituate the animals to the respiration chambers, sheep had 15 to 25% lower feed intake in the respiration chambers compared with their feed intake during the previous week in the animal house pens. In addition, daily feed intake in the respiration chamber was not correlated with feed intake in any of the 7 d before entering the chamber (P > 0.05). Future methane research may consider using feed intake and changes in intake levels as a quantitative indicator of habituation to the methane measurement procedure and environment, which, given the tight association between feed intake and methane production, will be crucial in providing accurate values for methane production. © 2014 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. Source

Granleese T.,Sheep Cooperative Research Center | Granleese T.,University of New England of Australia | Clark S.A.,University of New England of Australia | Swan A.A.,Sheep Cooperative Research Center | And 3 more authors.
Genetics Selection Evolution | Year: 2015

Background: Female reproductive technologies such as multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) and juvenile in vitro embryo production and embryo transfer (JIVET) can boost rates of genetic gain but they can also increase rates of inbreeding. Inbreeding can be managed using the principles of optimal contribution selection (OCS), which maximizes genetic gain while placing a penalty on the rate of inbreeding. We evaluated the potential benefits and synergies that exist between genomic selection (GS) and reproductive technologies under OCS for sheep and cattle breeding programs. Methods: Various breeding program scenarios were simulated stochastically including: (1) a sheep breeding program for the selection of a single trait that could be measured either early or late in life; (2) a beef breeding program with an early or late trait; and (3) a dairy breeding program with a sex limited trait. OCS was applied using a range of penalties (severe to no penalty) on co-ancestry of selection candidates, with the possibility of using multiple ovulation and embryo transfer (MOET) and/or juvenile in vitro embryo production and embryo transfer (JIVET) for females. Each breeding program was simulated with and without genomic selection. Results: All breeding programs could be penalized to result in an inbreeding rate of 1 % increase per generation. The addition of MOET to artificial insemination or natural breeding (AI/N), without the use of GS yielded an extra 25 to 60 % genetic gain. The further addition of JIVET did not yield an extra genetic gain. When GS was used, MOET and MOET + JIVET programs increased rates of genetic gain by 38 to 76 % and 51 to 81 % compared to AI/N, respectively. Conclusions: Large increases in genetic gain were found across species when female reproductive technologies combined with genomic selection were applied and inbreeding was managed, especially for breeding programs that focus on the selection of traits measured late in life or that are sex-limited. Optimal contribution selection was an effective tool to optimally allocate different combinations of reproductive technologies. Applying a range of penalties to co-ancestry of selection candidates allows a comprehensive exploration of the inbreeding vs. genetic gain space. © 2015 Granleese et al. Source

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