For a long time an increased growth of calves in the womb and associated consequences generated severe problems for breeders and scientists.
Furthermore, many studies had proven that prenatal growth of mammals in the womb had significant consequences on life after birth.
Now scientists at the Leibniz-Institute for Farm Animal Biology (FBN) in Dummerstorf made a pioneering discovery on the inherited background of divergent fetal growth in the womb in cooperation with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Munich, the Technical University Munich, the Kagoshima and the Shirakawa Institute in Japan. They identified a genetic mechanism in cattle that is associated with substantial variation in prenatal growth. Subject of their discovery was a genetic variant in the NCAPG gene on bovine chromosome 6, which should make a major contribution to the divergent development of fetuses in the womb (see background). The key results of the study on the background of fetal growth in cattle are published in the recent November issue of the renowned scientific Journal "Genetics" (abstract: http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/abstract/183/3/951).
"The variant in the NCAPG gene seems evolutionary rather young, it is however already distributed across many breeds. The function of the gene in mammals has been largely unknown, although it is described to be involved in cell division in lower organism like the fruit fly", pointed out Dr. Christa Kuehn from the Research Unit Molecular Biology of the Leibniz-Institute for Farm Animal Biology .
An increased birth weight frequently results in an impaired delivery or even stillbirth of the calf. This study focussed on the question, which genetic variation is relevant for a high body weight of calves in the womb. For the first time it is possible now to detect a genetic variant via a conventional genetic test, which will enable future targeted selection in cattle to decrease the number of calves with increased birth weight (see background). Thus, the results presented in the study are relevant for both animal welfare and breeding perspectives in cattle production. Furthermore, this study also provides an important contribution to basic research. Frequently, an extreme fetal growth is associated with significant consequences in later life, e.g., increased predisposition to diabetes and obesity in humans.The Leibniz-Institute for Farm Animal Biology was in charge of major parts of the study including filing the concept, recording of phenotypes and the analysis of the results. The study itself is part of the long-term project SEGFAM dedicated to reveal causative mechanisms for divergent growth and lactation in cattle. The results presented in the current study provide an example, how the mission of the Institute to conduct application-oriented basic science is accomplished. Starting point was a problem relevant to livestock production, the increased birth weight in cattle. While tackling this issue, the elucidation of new, potentially relevant mechanisms for the regulation of fetal growth has contributed to basic research as well.
In the future, research on the NCAPG gene in cattle will focus on two directions. Firstly, the potential of the genetic test in cattle production will be further evaluated. Respective collaborations with breeding organizations are already under way. Secondly, the functional mechanisms of the NCAPG gene in mammals will be elucidated.
Background - conducting the study
In order to establish the specific resource population Charolais sires and German Holstein dams were chosen to form the founder generation (P0). Via artificial insemination and embryo transfer, a first progeny generation (F1), and subsequently by mating F1 individuals, a second progeny generation (F2) were generated. German Holstein females were recipients for both progeny generations. Embryos were collected and transferred at FBN, where also the respective calves were born. After establishing a substantial part of the resource population, an initial scan of ( oder: screen for) regions of the bovine genome relevant for fetal growth was started. From early on, the bovine chromosome 6 was outstanding compared to other parts of the bovine genome. The raw information from the initial scan on the target region on chromosome 6 was refined by fine mapping. Subsequently, the NCAPG was identified as potentially interesting gene by merging information from recent literature, own genetic maps and indication from participating colleagues in Japan and Munich. The NCAPG gene was then systematically investigated for genetic variants. Among the NCAPG variants detected was the mutation that was significantly associated with fetal growth in the womb.Genetics, Volume 183, Issue 3, November 2009
Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University
New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine