Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems
Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems

Effect of feed restriction on the environmental variability of birth weight in divergently selected lines of mice

Authors: 
Formoso-Raferty N., Cervantes I., Sánchez J.P., Gutiérrez J.P., Bodin L.
Publication date: 
13 June 2019
Full title: 
Effect of feed restriction on the environmental variability of birth weight in divergently selected lines of mice
Publishing information: 
Genetics Selection Evolution, 51: 27
Abstract: 

Background

Selection of mice for decreased environmental variability of birth weight has achieved higher survivability and larger litter size as a correlated response to canalized selection, which suggests higher welfare and robustness, and animals that are more homogeneous. However, in these studies, animals were not exposed to an environmental challenge. To demonstrate the advantages of this mouse line with a low environmental variability of birth weight, animals from two divergent lines (high and low variability of birth weight) were subjected to feed restriction. The objective of this study was to use these divergent lines to compare their response in terms of robustness against an environmental challenge. At weaning, 120 females, i.e. four full-sib females from 10 random litters of three consecutive generations of selection, were chosen from these divergent lines. The total number of females was divided into four groups, which were subjected to a feeding regimen by imposing different levels of feed restriction (i.e. 75, 90 and 85% of full ad libitum feed across three generations, respectively) in different combinations during the growth and reproduction periods.

Results

Animals from the “low” line were less sensitive to a change in feed level than those from the “high” line. Regarding reproduction, the “low” line performed better in terms of number of females having parturitions, number of parturitions, and litter size. Imposing a feed restriction on female mice during their growth period did not affect the birth weight of their pups. The “low” line was preferred because of its higher reproductive efficiency and survival under an environmental challenge.

Conclusions

Selection for decreased environmental variability of birth weight produces animals that are less sensitive to environmental conditions, which can be interpreted as having greater robustness.

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