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T-Stór is Teagasc’s Open Access Repository, maintained by the Teagasc Library Service. Stór is the Gaelic word for Repository or Store or Warehouse, and T-Stór is an online “store” of Teagasc Research outputs and related documents. T-Stór collects preserves and makes freely available scholarly communication, including peer-reviewed articles, working papers and conference papers created by Teagasc researchers. Where material has already been published it is made available subject to the open-access policies of the original publishers. About Teagasc
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Reaffirmation of known major genes and the identification of novel candidate genes associated with carcass-related metrics based on whole genome sequence within a large multi-breed cattle populationBackground The high narrow sense heritability of carcass traits suggests that the underlying additive genetic potential of an individual should be strongly correlated with both animal carcass quality and quantity, and therefore, by extension, carcass value. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to detect genomic regions associated with three carcass traits, namely carcass weight, conformation and fat cover, using imputed whole genome sequence in 28,470 dairy and beef sires from six breeds with a total of 2,199,926 phenotyped progeny. Results Major genes previously associated with carcass performance were identified, as well as several putative novel candidate genes that likely operate both within and across breeds. The role of MSTN in carcass performance was re-affirmed with the segregating Q204X mutation explaining 1.21, 1.11 and 5.95% of the genetic variance in carcass weight, fat and conformation, respectively in the Charolais population. In addition, a genomic region on BTA6 encompassing the NCAPG/LCORL locus, which is a known candidate locus associated with body size, was associated with carcass weight in Angus, Charolais and Limousin. Novel candidate genes identified included ZFAT in Angus, and SLC40A1 and the olfactory gene cluster on BTA15 in Charolais. Although the majority of associations were breed specific, associations that operated across breeds included SORCS1 on BTA26, MCTP2 on BTA21 and ARL15 on BTA20; these are of particular interest due to their potential informativeness in across-breed genomic evaluations. Genomic regions affecting all three carcass traits were identified in each of the breeds, although these were mainly concentrated on BTA2 and BTA6, surrounding MSTN and NCAPG/LCORL, respectively. This suggests that although major genes may be associated with all three carcass traits, the majority of genes containing significant variants (unadjusted p-value < 10− 4) may be trait specific associations of small effect. Conclusions Although plausible novel candidate genes were identified, the proportion of variance explained by these candidates was minimal thus reaffirming that while carcass performance may be affected by major genes in the form of MSTN and NCAPG/LCORL, the majority of variance is attributed to the additive (and possibly multiplicative) effect of many polymorphisms of small effect.
Effect of feed allowance at pasture on the lying behaviour of dairy cowsIn temperate climates where cows are primarily managed at pasture shortages of grass could result in nutritional deficits for the cow and may have a variety of behavioural consequences. Lying behaviour is one of the most researched aspects of dairy cow behaviour, and can provide insights into cow welfare and physiological state. This study investigated the effect of daily herbage allowance (DHA) on the lying behaviour of dairy cow during early lactation. Ninety-six cows were randomly assigned to one of eight treatments in a 2 × 4 factorial design; experimental duration (2 week (2 W) or 6 week (6 W)), and nutritional levels (DHA) (60%, 80%, 100% or 120% of intake capacity). Cows were assigned to treatment at 28 ± 8.4 days in milk, and lying behaviour of cows in the 6 W treatments recorded using modified voltage data loggers on 4 occasions; the week prior to the start of the experiment, during week 3 (MID), and week 6 (LATE), and 7 weeks after the study concluded (POST), when the cows were all returned to a feed allowance of 100% intake capacity. Although there was an effect of treatment on daily lying time (P < 0.01), with the 60% cows spending less time lying than the 120% (P < 0.01), cows in all treatments spent at least 9 h lying per day throughout the experiment. Daily lying time increased as the grazing season progressed (P < 0.001). Feed allowance affected both lying bout duration (P < 0.01) and number (P < 0.05), with cows on the highest feed allowance having the highest values for both. There was an effect of feed allowance on the time that cows first lay down after both morning and afternoon milking (P < 0.001), with a similar pattern for both times; the lower the feed allowance, the longer it took. During the POST period, this pattern was no longer evident in the afternoon, but still present in the morning. None of the treatments imposed resulted in daily lying times lower than those reported in other studies at pasture. However, the significant differences in patterns of lying during the day could be reflective of satiety level; the patterns of lying in cows with a low feed allowance compared to those with an allowance aligned with intake capacity are in agreement with previous research. Herd level recording of lying behaviour, relative to time since milking and/or fresh feed allocation, has potential for use as an animal welfare indicator for cows at pasture.
Evaluation of alternative strategies to treat anoestrous dairy cows and implications for reproductive performance in pasture-based seasonal calving herds: A pilot studyThe objective of the present study was to assess the effects on ovulation and reproductive performance of a single injection of either GnRH or hCG applied 9 days before the start of the seasonal breeding period in anovulatory anoestrus cows compared with a 7-day progesterone-Ovsynch protocol. The study was conducted on four grass-based seasonal calving dairy herds in Ireland. The total number of cows in the herds was 2112, of which 488 were diagnosed as anoestrus based on absence of behavioural oestrus during a 30 day period. Ovarian structures and the uterus were examined by transrectal ultrasound on all 488 presumptive anestrus cows 9 days before mating start date (MSD). The number of corpora lutea (CL), number of large follicles (≥10 mm) and uterine reproductive tract score were recorded. Only cows that had no CL, ultrasound reproductive tract score ≤2 and were ≥30 days in milk (DIM) were enrolled in the study (n = 214). Cows were blocked by parity, DIM and body condition score and randomly assigned to one of four treatments: i.m. injection of gonadotropin releasing hormone analogue [GnRH; (n = 57)], i.m. injection of human chorionic gonadotropin [hCG; (n = 48)], 7-day Progesterone-Ovsynch protocol [P4OV; (n = 60)] and Control (no hormonal intervention, n = 49). A second ultrasound examination was performed 7 days after treatment to determine ovulatory response. There was a treatment effect on ovulation rate (P < 0.0001), whereby Control cows had a lesser ovulation rate compared with GnRH-, hCG- and P4OV-treated cows. Submission rate during the first 21 days of the breeding period [SR21; (P = 0.74)], pregnant to first service [P/AI1; (P = 0.24)], pregnant within 42 days after the onset of breeding [P42; (P = 0.73)], and pregnant within 84 days after the onset of breeding were not affected by treatment. A tendency was observed (P = 0.07) for greater likelihood of pregnancy within 21 days after the onset of breeding (P21) for P4OV and Control cows compared with GnRH- and hCG-treated cows. GnRH- and hCG-treated cows tended (P = 0.10) to have greater P/AI1 when first service events occurred after day 21 of the breeding period compared with Control cows. P4OV cows had shorter MSD to first service interval (P = 0.0001) and shorter MSD to conception interval (P = 0.02) compared with Control, GnRH- and hCG-treated cows. In conclusion, treatment of anestrous cows with GnRH or hCG resulted in an increase in ovulation rate compared with untreated Control cows, but did not improve reproductive performance during the first 21 days of the breeding season. The best reproductive performance results were obtained with the P4OV treatment, but this treatment has the greatest cost, and has the greatest number of interventions. The observation of good P/AI1 in hCG- and GnRH- treated cows when the first insemination occurred later than day 21 after MSD warrants further investigation, and suggests that these interventions should be applied earlier than 9 days before the farm MSD.
Inhibition of lactose crystallisation in the presence of galacto-oligosaccharideThe stabilization of lactose in the form of amorphous (i.e. non-crystalline form) is the basic requirement to maintain the quality of relevant food and pharmaceutical products. The physiochemical properties of amorphous lactose mixed with galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) were investigated. Water sorption, glass transition temperature, and crystallisation behaviour of lactose in the present of GOS (1:1 w/w) were measured at various water activity (0.11–0.75 aw, 25 °C) and lactose mutarotation was also evaluated. All of them were compared with the physiochemical properties of trehalose-lactose (1:1 w/w). The addition of GOS to lactose increased the hygroscopicity of the mixture, as well as slightly increased the glass transition temperature compared to lactose alone. The critical water activity (at 0.68 aw) of lactose crystallisation was increased by the addition of GOS as compared to that of trehalose-lactose (1:1 w/w) (at 0.58 aw) or lactose alone (at 0.44 aw). The dramatical inhibition of lactose crystallisation with a lower crystallisation kinetic constant and the alternation of lactose crystal forms in the presence of GOS was observed as compared to the crystallisation behaviour of trehalose-lactose (1:1 w/w) and pure lactose at 0.68 and 0.75 aw, 25 °C. Without affecting its Tg, the significantly delayed crystallisation of lactose in GOS-lactose mixture (1:1 w/w) was more likely due to the change of lactose mutarotation. As comparing to trehalose that is an effective inhibitor, GOS has a stronger ability to prevent lactose from crystallisation in hydrous matrices.
Application of broadband acoustic resonance dissolution spectroscopy (BARDS) to the gas release behaviour during rehydration of milk protein isolate agglomeratesThe BARDS technique was applied in this study to acoustically assess the rehydration behaviour of milk protein isolate (MPI) agglomerates and to compare with regular MPI powder. The results showed that BARDS has potential to monitor the rehydration behaviour of agglomerates. The greater porosity (>70%) of agglomerated powders introduced more compressible gas into the water. The BARDS profile showed that there was faster initial gas release from the agglomerates, indicating better wetting and dispersion ability of the agglomerates with shorter tM (time of maximum gas volume in solution). At 0.10% powder addition, agglomerated MPI reached tM within 109 s, which was significantly less than the control MPI at 140 s. MPI with lactose binder (MPI-L) had a tM of 80 s at 0.10% powder addition and, larger size MPI-L had a tM of 60 s. At 0.20% and 0.30% powder addition, more time was required to wet and disperse the powders.