This investigation was conducted to study culling patterns in swine breeding herds. Data were obtained from 89 Minnesota swine breeding herds and included 5918 sows and 1324 gilts for a total of 7242 culled femaled. Each producer was involved for 12 consecutive months. They were asked to record every female that was removed from the herd, the reason for its culling and its parity. The annual culling rate for the sample averaged 50%, but varied considerably between herds ranging from 15% to 85%. Culled females had produced an average of 3.77 litters. Half of the females culled did not produce more than three litters. Reproductive failure accounted for 32% of all removals. The average parity of the females culled in that category was only 2.37: almost 33% were gilts. Failure to conceive represented 75% of all females culled for reproductive failure. Proportionally, culling as a result of anestrus was higher in gilts. It accounted for 33% of all gilts culled for reproductive failure which was twice as much as for sows. Inadequate performance accounted for 17% of all removals. These sows had produced an average of 5.11 litters. These results indicated that few animals were culled on the basis of first litter performance. Old age comprised 14% of all removals and the average parity at culling for this category was 7.11. Death accounted for 12% and the average parity for these females was 3.40. Locomotor problems and peripartum problems were the cause of 28% and 23% of all deaths, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
This investigation was conducted to study boar culling patterns in swine breeding herds. Data were obtained from 84 swine breeding herds and included 440 boars that were culled. Each producer was involved for 12 consecutive months, and recorded every boar that was removed from the herd, the date, and the reason for culling. The annual culling rate for the 84 farms averaged 59.4% ± 6.4 (SEM). The correlation coefficient between boar and sow culling was 0.52 (p <0.0001). Removal was the result of being overweight (47%), reproductive problems (18%), leg problems (12%), death (7%), and other diseases (4%). From the annual culling rate, the average breeding life of boars was estimated at 20 months. From this study, we concluded that the annual culling rate for boars in commercial herds was high and related to several different factors.
The relationship between type traits and longevity was studied in the French Holstein breed using a survival analysis model. In this model, the phenotypic value adjusted for systematic fixed effects, the estimated breeding value, or the residual value (defined as the difference between the adjusted phenotypic value and the estimated breeding value) of the cow for each type trait was included as a risk factor. This was done separately for two subpopulations (registered and nonregistered herds) and with or without adjustment for production traits, i.e., considering true or functional longevity. For both types of herds, udder traits (and above all, udder depth) clearly influenced the length of productive life. There seemed to be a more pronounced voluntary culling on type traits in registered herds. The correction for the within herd-year class of production traits, as a way to approximate functional longevity, increased the importance of udder traits and decreased the weight of capacity traits. The same results were obtained when the phenotypic value of the cow for type was replaced by her estimated breeding value, whereas residuals had little impact. The relationship between longevity and type traits was most often nonlinear, in particular for udder traits, but in this study, no trait with a clear intermediate optimum was found.
longevity; type traits; survival analysis; nonlinearity; dairy cattle
The purpose of this study was to examine the reasons for, the rate and the effect of sow culling on productivity. Sow removal or wastage was investigated by means of producer questionnaires and by detailed production data recorded on 30 swine farms for two years. The sow removal rate was high (mean = 44.2%) with a wide herd-to-herd variation (range = 16% to 100%), and correlated negatively with litter size. Reproductive failure was the most common cause of culling cited by producers. It was concluded that sows on many Ontario farms were being culled prior to reaching their reproductive potential.
The objective of this study was to estimate true animal-level and herd-level prevalence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) antibodies in Missouri Boer goat herds. Sera harvested from blood samples collected from goats ≥24 months of age in 25 Missouri Boer goat herds were tested for presence of MAP antibodies using a commercial ELISA kit. Herds were declared positive for MAP if one or more goats in the herd tested positive for MAP antibodies. True animal, within-herd, and between-herd prevalences were calculated using the Rogan-Gladen estimator and were 1.4% (95% CI = 0.1 to 3.6%), 3% (95% CI = 0 to 6%), and 54.7% (95% CI = 28.2 to 86.2%), respectively. Findings in this study confirmed that MAP infection is endemic in Missouri Boer goat herds.
The aims of this study were to establish the incidence of cystic ovarian disease (COD) and its geographical and seasonal variation in Norway, investigate the effect of COD on culling rates, and describe the effects of COD on subsequent reproductive performance and its association to twins.
Diagnosis of COD was made by veterinary surgeons in the field. Four statistical models were made all including herd as random effect: The four different dependent variables investigated were: 1) Diagnosis of COD between 40 and 165 days in milk or not; (n = 511,657); 2) Twins or singleton; data restricted to lactations with new calving (n = 156,661): 3) Culling/removal or not (n = 573,184): 4) Culling due to reproductive problems; data included only lactations which ended in culling (n = 234,232). Model 1, 3 and 4 applied Cox regression models, and model 2 logistic regression. Independent variables were parity, twins/singletons, calving season, herd size, region, COD occurrence in present lactation (if not dependent), and COD diagnosis in previous lactation.
The incidence was 0.82% per lactation. COD increased with increasing parity, was smallest at herd size between 35 and 85 cows. Cows in 1st parity and calved in spring had lowest hazard of COD and hazard for COD diagnosis was highest in autumn with HR = 2.6 (1.9 - 3.4) compared to spring. There was an interaction between parity and season. COD incidence was lower south of 60°N. Cows which experienced COD had an increased odds of giving birth to twins OR = 2.2 (1.7 - 2.7). Of those that were culled, those with COD were culled more frequently because of reproductive problems; HR = 2.1 (1.9 - 2.3) for higher parity than 2. Having COD diagnosed in the preceding lactation was a hazard for diagnosis in the lactation studied.
COD diagnosis is strongly associated with season (autumn calving) and parity. Herds north of 60°N have more COD. Occurrence of COD is associated with twin births as well as culling due to reproduction.
This study describes the distribution of herd culling rates for 123 Ontario cow-calf herds maintaining individual animal records. Associations between culling and factors at both the individual and herd level were examined. In addition, the relative importance of individual animal and herd level influences on culling were investigated. The following individual cow culling risk factors: nonpregnancy, age, weaning weight index, calf outcome, abortion, prolapsed vagina, prolapsed uterus, calving injury, lameness and mastitis or udder problems were significantly associated with culling (p less than 0.01). Two herd level factors were associated with increased culling rates: a higher than average proportion of heifers and a shorter than average calving season (p less than 0.01). The proportion of culling variation attributed to individual animal and herd level influences varied with model type. While simple models (one-way ANOVA) indicated that the herd variance component for culling was relatively minor, more complex models indicated larger herd-to-herd variability (mixed model ANOVA). Thus, it appeared that the probability of culling for a cow with a given set of risk factors depended to an important extent on manager decisions in the herd of origin.
Recently, the number of human Q fever cases in the Netherlands increased dramatically. In response to this increase, dairy goats and dairy sheep were vaccinated against Coxiella burnetii. All pregnant dairy goats and dairy sheep in herds positive for Q fever were culled. We identified the effect of vaccination on bacterial shedding by small ruminants. On the day of culling, samples of uterine fluid, vaginal mucus, and milk were obtained from 957 pregnant animals in 13 herds. Prevalence and bacterial load were reduced in vaccinated animals compared with unvaccinated animals. These effects were most pronounced in animals during their first pregnancy. Results indicate that vaccination may reduce bacterial load in the environment and human exposure to C. burnetii.
Q fever; Coxiella burnetii; bacterial vaccine; bacteria; bacterial shedding; goats; sheep; the Netherlands; expedited; research
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of bovine leukemia virus (BLV) infection on production, reproduction and longevity in dairy cattle. The study population was a commercial Holstein dairy herd of approximately 400 milking cows. Cattle were tested for antibodies to BLV at least annually for three years and when culled. Four groups of culled cows were compared: seronegative cows (n = 79), seropositive cows without lymphocytosis (n = 176), seropositive cows with lymphocytosis (> or = 9,000 lymphocytes/microliter) (n = 74), and seropositive cows with lymphosarcoma (n = 29). Seropositive groups of cows were bred more times and had longer calving intervals than seronegative cows. The seropositive groups had greater 305-day ME (mature equivalent) FCM (3.5% fat-corrected milk) per lactation and were older when culled than seronegative cows. However, the percent fat per lactation was greater in seronegative cows. In the last complete lactation, differences in 305-day ME FCM, days open and cull age between groups were reduced and none were significant (p > 0.05). In the cull lactation, only cows with lymphocytosis had reduced milk production relative to seronegative cows, although this difference was not significant. After adjustment for initial production and reproductive values, only seropositive nonlymphocytotic cows were culled at a significantly older age than seronegative cattle. Lymphocytotic cows were culled four months younger on average than nonlymphocytotic seropositive cows. Hence, BLV infected cows had greater milk production on average than uninfected cows. Adverse effects of BLV infection were primarily limited to lymphocytotic cows which were culled earlier and had reduced milk production in the cull lactation.
The main aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of claw and limb disorders in Norwegian beef-cow herds.
Twenty-six herds with ≥15 cow-years were selected by computerized systematic assignment from the three most beef cattle-dense regions of Norway. The study population consisted of 12 herds with 28 heifers and 334 cows. The animals were trimmed and examined once by claw trimmers during the late winter and spring of 2003. The seven claw trimmers had been taught diagnosing and recording of claw lesions. Environment, feeding and management routines, age and breed, culling and carcass characteristics were also recorded.
Lameness was recorded in 1.1% of the animals, and only in hind claws. Pericarpal swellings were recorded in one animal and peritarsal lesions in none. In total, claw and limb disorders including lameness were recorded in 29.6% of the animals, 4.1% with front and 28.2% with hind limb disorders, respectively. Most lesions were mild. Laminitis-related claw lesions were recorded in 18.0% of the animals and infectious lesions in 16.6%. The average claw length was 84 mm in front claws and 89 mm in hind claw. Both laminitis-related and infectious claw lesions were more prevalent with increasing age. Carcasses from animals with claw and limb disorders were on average 34 kg heavier than carcasses from animals without such disorders (p = 0.02). Our results also indicate association between some management factors and claw lesions.
The study shows that the prevalence of lameness was low in 12 Norwegian beef-cow herds compared to beef-cattle herds in other countries and also that there were less claw and limb disorders in these herds compared to foreign dairy-cattle herds. The prevalence of lameness and white-line fissures was approximately the same as in Norwegian dairy herds whereas less dermatitis, heel-horn erosions, haemorrhages of the sole and the white line and sole ulcers were recorded.
A survival analysis was used to compare the culling rate of Icelandic horses due to the presence of radiographic and clinical signs of bone spavin. A follow-up study of 508 horses from a survey five years earlier was performed. In the original survey 46% of the horses had radiographic signs of bone spavin (RS) and/or lameness after flexion test of the tarsus. The horse owners were interviewed by telephone. The owners were asked if the horses were still used for riding and if not, they were regarded as culled. The owners were then asked when and why the horses were culled. During the 5 years, 98 horses had been culled, 151 had been withdrawn (sold or selected for breeding) and 259 were still used for riding. Hind limb lameness (HLL) was the most common reason for culling (n = 42). The rate of culling was low up to the age of 11 years, when it rose to 0.05 for horses with RS. The risk ratio for culling was twice as high for horses with RS compared with horses without RS and 5.5 times higher for culling because of HLL. The risk of culling (prognostic value) was highest for the combination of RS with lameness after flexion test, next highest for RS and lowest for lameness after flexion test as the only finding.
It was concluded that bone spavin affects the duration of use of Icelandic horses and is the most common cause of culling due to disease of riding horses in the age range of 7–17 years.
Icelandic horses; bone spavin osteoarthroses; survival analysis; questionnaire
Small ruminant post-mortem testing programs were initially designed for monitoring the prevalence of prion disease. They are now considered as a potential alternative to genetic selection for eradicating/controlling classical scrapie at population level. If such policy should be implemented, its success would be crucially dependent on the efficiency of the surveillance system used to identify infected flocks. In this study, we first determined the performance of post-mortem classical scrapie detection in eight naturally affected goat herds (total n = 1961 animals) according to the age at culling. These results provided us with necessary parameters to estimate, through a Monte Carlo simulation model, the performance of scrapie detection in a commercial population. According to this model, whatever the number of tests performed, post mortem surveillance will have limited success in identifying infected herds. These data support the contention that scrapie eradication programs relying solely on post mortem testing in goats will probably fail. Considering the epidemiological and pathological similarities of scrapie in sheep and goats, the efficiency of scrapie surveillance in both species is likely to be similar.
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of spineless cactus incorporation in food of dairy goats and growing kids on milk production and composition and on kid's growth and meat characteristics. Two experiments were conducted on Tunisian local goats. In the first, 30 females were divided into two groups; goats of Control group were reared on grazing pasture receiving indoor 0.5 kg of hay and 0.4 kg of concentrate. Goats for the second group (Cac-FL) were kept in feedlot and fed cactus ad libitum more 0.5 kg of hay and 0.4 kg of concentrate. In the second experiment, 14 kids were divided into 2 groups receiving 600 g of hay. The Control group received ad libitum a concentrate containing 130 g crude protein (CP) per kg of dry matter. The second group received cactus ad-libitum plus the half concentrate quantity of control one with 260 g CP/kg DM (Cactus). The daily milk production averaged 485 ml for Control group and 407 ml for Cac-FL one. The milk fat content was significantly higher for Control than Cac-FL group. In the second experiment, animals in Control and Cactus groups had similar growth rate. Carcass fat was significantly lower in Cactus than in the Control group. Cactus in the diet was associated with more C18:2 and conjugated linoleic acid as well as a higher proportion of PUFA than Control ones.
The objectives were to describe the pattern of losses through culling, sales of breeding stock, mortality, and disappearance, and to characterize the causes of mortality of cows and replacement heifers of breeding age from Western Canadian beef herds. Cows and replacement heifers from 203 herds were observed for a 1-year period starting June 1, 2001. Veterinarians examined dead animals on-farm using a standard postmortem protocol. The incidence of culling in cows and replacements heifers was 14.3 per 100 cow-years at risk, and the frequencies of sales for breeding stock, mortality, and cows reported missing per cow-years at risk were 4.0, 1.1, and 0.4, respectively. During the study, 355 animals died or were euthanized, 209 were examined postmortem, and the requested tissues were submitted for histopathologic examination from 184. A cause of death was determined for 70% (128/184) of the cows with complete gross postmortem and histopathologic examinations. Hardware disease (traumatic reticuloperitonitis), malignant neoplasia (cancer), calving-associated injury, rumen tympany (bloat), myopathy, and pneumonia accounted for 56% (72/128) of the animals where a cause of death was determined. Twenty-three other causes of death accounted for the remaining 44% (56/128). Factors relating to cow nutrition accounted for 25% of the deaths, emphasizing the importance of feeding management as a determinant of cow health in western Canada.
The objectives of this study were to determine associations between low farrowing rate and various management factors in sow herds. In 30 sow herds, a management survey, breeding observations, semen evaluation, and semen storage temperature monitoring were completed. Herds with an average farrowing rate of < 85% were classified as low farrowing rate herds while those with an average farrowing rate of ≥ 85% were classified as good farrowing rate herds. Low farrowing rate herds were more likely than good farrowing rate herds to move boars into gilt pens for estrus detection, breed a high proportion of sows by artificial insemination (AI) only, start heat detection 3 d post-weaning, wipe the vulva prior to breeding, and use “hands-free” AI devices.
In the UK, attempts since the 1970s to control the incidence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle by culling a wildlife host, the European badger (Meles meles), have produced equivocal results. Culling-induced social perturbation of badger populations may lead to unexpected outcomes. We test predictions from the ‘perturbation hypothesis’, determining the impact of culling operations on badger populations, movement of surviving individuals and the influence on the epidemiology of bTB in badgers using data dervied from two study areas within the UK Government's Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT). Culling operations did not remove all individuals from setts, with between 34–43% of badgers removed from targeted social groups. After culling, bTB prevalence increased in badger social groups neighbouring removals, particularly amongst cubs. Seventy individual adult badgers were fitted with radio-collars, yielding 8,311 locational fixes from both sites between November 2001 and December 2003. Home range areas of animals surviving within removed groups increased by 43.5% in response to culling. Overlap between summer ranges of individuals from Neighbouring social groups in the treatment population increased by 73.3% in response to culling. The movement rate of individuals between social groups was low, but increased after culling, in Removed and Neighbouring social groups. Increased bTB prevalence in Neighbouring groups was associated with badger movements both into and out of these groups, although none of the moving individuals themselves tested positive for bTB. Significant increases in both the frequency of individual badger movements between groups and the emergence of bTB were observed in response to culling. However, no direct evidence was found to link the two phenomena. We hypothesise that the social disruption caused by culling may not only increase direct contact and thus disease transmission between surviving badgers, but may also increase social stress within the surviving population, causing immunosuppression and enhancing the expression of disease.
The objective of this field study was to evaluate the protocol of test and removal (T&R) for the elimination of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) from 5 chronically infected breeding herds. The T&R protocol involved sampling the entire breeding herd in one day, testing sera by polymerase chain reaction and ELISA to detect previously exposed and/or infected animals, and subsequently removing them from the herd. Following completion of T&R, breeding herds were monitored for 12 consecutive months, using ELISA, for the presence of antibodies to PRRSV. In order to be classified as a PRRSV-negative herd, all samples collected over the 12-month monitoring period were required to be negative by ELISA (s/p ratio < 0.4). At the conclusion of the monitoring period, all 5 farms were PRRSV-negative, according to the defined testing criteria. Approximately 2.2% (74/3408) ELISA false positive samples were detected across all 5 farms during the monitoring period. The diagnostic cost required during the T&R protocol was approximately US $10.66 per animal tested. Limitations of the study were a lack of herds with large (> 2000 sows) breeding herd inventories, and herds with a history of PRRSV vaccination.
Airborne transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a risk factor for the infection of susceptible populations. Therefore, a long‑term sustainability study of air filtration as a means to reduce this risk was conducted. Participating herds (n = 38) were organized into 4 independent cohorts and the effect of air filtration on the occurrence of new PRRSV infections was analyzed at 3 different levels from September 2008 to January 2012 including the likelihood of infection in contemporary filtered and non-filtered herds, the likelihood of infection before and after implementation of filtration and the time to failure in filtered and non-filtered herds. Results indicated that new PRRSV infections in filtered breeding herds were significantly lower than in contemporary non-filtered control herds (P < 0.01), the odds for a new PRRSV infection in breeding herds before filtration was 7.97 times higher than the odds after filtration was initiated (P < 0.01) and the median time to new PRRSV infections in filtered breeding herds of 30 months was significantly longer than the 11 months observed in non-filtered herds (P < 0.01). In conclusion, across all 3 levels of analysis, the long-term effect of air filtration on reducing the occurrence of new PRRSV infections in the study population was demonstrated.
porcine; reproductive; respiratory; syndrome; virus; air; filtration; breeding; herds
Data were obtained from a questionnaire administered to a random sample of Canadian and United States white-tailed deer (WTD) farmers. Reproductive indices and survival of fawns from birth until 1 y of age were examined. Major factors in limiting herd increase were a low reproductive rate (88 fawns per 100 does exposed to bucks) and a 30% mortality of fawns from birth until 1 y of age. The latter figure differs from reported mortality rates in fallow deer and red deer/wapiti. The unacceptably high neonatal mortality on WTD farms was determined to be as important to herd productivity as failure to produce a live fawn. Industry wide, “benchmark” estimates of reproductive performance, mortality rates, and productivity are provided, allowing farmers to compare their herds against these “benchmarks” to identify areas needing improvement.
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, continues to be a serious economic problem for the British cattle industry. The Eurasian badger (Meles meles) is partly responsible for maintenance of the disease and its transmission to cattle. Previous attempts to manage the disease by culling badgers have been hampered by social perturbation, which in some situations is associated with increases in the cattle herd incidence of bTB. Following the licensing of an injectable vaccine, we consider the relative merits of management strategies to reduce bTB in badgers, and thereby reduce cattle herd incidence. We used an established simulation model of the badger-cattle-TB system and investigated four proposed strategies: business as usual with no badger management, large-scale proactive badger culling, badger vaccination, and culling with a ring of vaccination around it. For ease of comparison with empirical data, model treatments were applied over 150 km2 and were evaluated over the whole of a 300 km2 area, comprising the core treatment area and a ring of approximately 2 km. The effects of treatment were evaluated over a 10-year period comprising treatment for five years and the subsequent five year period without treatment. Against a background of existing disease control measures, where 144 cattle herd incidents might be expected over 10 years, badger culling prevented 26 cattle herd incidents while vaccination prevented 16. Culling in the core 150 km2 plus vaccination in a ring around it prevented about 40 cattle herd breakdowns by partly mitigating the negative effects of culling, although this approach clearly required greater effort. While model outcomes were robust to uncertainty in parameter estimates, the outcomes of culling were sensitive to low rates of land access for culling, low culling efficacy, and the early cessation of a culling strategy, all of which were likely to lead to an overall increase in cattle disease.
As there is limited information about the clinical signs of BSE and scrapie in goats, studies were conducted to describe the clinical progression of scrapie and BSE in goats and to evaluate a short clinical protocol for its use in detecting scrapie-affected goats in two herds with previously confirmed scrapie cases. Clinical assessments were carried out in five goats intracerebrally infected with the BSE agent as well as five reported scrapie suspects and 346 goats subject to cull from the two herds, 24 of which were retained for further monitoring. The brain and selected lymphoid tissue were examined by postmortem tests for disease confirmation.
The sensitivity and specificity of the short clinical protocol in detecting a scrapie case in the scrapie-affected herds was 3.9% and 99.6%, respectively, based on the presence of tremor, positive scratch test, extensive hair loss, ataxia and absent menace response. All BSE- and scrapie-affected goats displayed abnormalities in sensation (over-reactivity to external stimuli, startle responses, pruritus, absent menace response) and movement (ataxia, tremor, postural deficits) at an advanced clinical stage but the first detectable sign associated with scrapie or BSE could vary between animals. Signs of pruritus were not always present despite similar prion protein genotypes. Clinical signs of scrapie were also displayed by two scrapie cases that presented with detectable disease-associated prion protein only in lymphoid tissues.
BSE and scrapie may present as pruritic and non-pruritic forms in goats. Signs assessed for the clinical diagnosis of scrapie or BSE in goats should include postural and gait abnormalities, pruritus and visual impairment. However, many scrapie cases will be missed if detection is solely based on the display of clinical signs. PrPd accumulation in the brain appeared to be related to the severity of clinical disease but not to the display of individual neurological signs.
The objective of this study was to estimate the annual losses from Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) for an average, MAP-seropositive, Canadian dairy herd. A partial-budget simulation model was developed with 4 components of direct production losses (decreased milk production, premature voluntary culling, mortality, and reproductive losses). Input values were obtained primarily from a national seroprevalence survey of 373 Canadian dairy farms in 8 of 10 provinces. The model took into account the variability and uncertainty of the required input values; consequently, it produced probability distributions of the estimated losses. For an average Canadian dairy herd with 12.7% of 61 cows seropositive for MAP, the mean loss was $2992 (95% C.I., $143 to $9741) annually, or $49 per cow per year. Additional culling, decreased milk production, mortality, and reproductive losses accounted for 46%, 9%, 16%, and 29% of the losses, respectively. Canadian dairy producers should use best management practices to reduce these substantial annual losses.
Two active mutations (A 781 G and A 1575 G) in growth hormone (GH) gene, and their associations with litter size (LS), were investigated in both a high prolificacy (Matou, n = 182) and a low prolificacy breed (Boer, n = 352) by using the PCR-RFLP method. Superovulation experiments were designed in 57 dams, in order to evaluate the effect of different genotypes of the GH gene on superovulation response. Two genotypes (AA and AB, CC and CD) in each mutation were detected in these two goat breeds. Neither BB nor DD homozygous genotypes were observed. The genotypic frequencies of AB and CC were significantly higher than those of AA and CD. In the third parity, Matou dams with AB or CC genotypes had significantly larger litter sizes than those with AA and CD (p < 0.05). On combining the two loci, both Matou and Boer dams with ABCD genotype had the largest litter sizes when compared to the other genotypes (p < 0.05). When undergoing like superovulation treatments, a significantly higher number of corpora lutea and ova, with a lower incidence of ovarian cysts, were harvested in the AB and CC genotypes than in AA and CD. These results show that the two loci of GH gene are highly associated with abundant prolificacy and superovulation response in goat breeds.
DNA polymorphism; growth hormone (GH) gene; litter size; superovulation response; goat
Reproductive disorders and infertility are surprisingly common in the human population as well as in other species. The decrease in fertility is a major cause of cow culling and economic loss in the dairy herd. The conception rate has been declining for the past 30–50 years. Conception rate is the product of fertilization and embryonic survival rates. In a previous study, we have identified associations of several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the signal transducer and activator 5A (STAT5A) with fertilization and survival rates in an in vitro experimental system. The objectives of this study are to fine map the STAT5A region in a search for causative mutations and to investigate the parent of origin expression of this gene.
We have performed a total of 5,222 fertilizations and produced a total of 3,696 in vitro fertilized embryos using gametes from 440 cows and eight bulls. A total of 37 SNPs were developed in a 63.4-kb region of genomic sequence that includes STAT5A, STAT3, and upstream and downstream sequences of these genes. SNP153137 (G/C) in exon 8 of STAT5A was associated with a significant variability in embryonic survival and fertilization rate compared to all other examined SNPs. Expression analysis revealed that STAT5A is primarily monoallelically expressed in early embryonic stages but biallelically expressed in later fetal stages. Furthermore, the occurrence of monoallelic maternal expression of STAT5A was significantly higher in blastocysts, while paternal expression was more frequent in degenerative embryos.
Our results imply that STAT5A affects embryonic survival in a manner influenced by developmental stage and allele parent of origin.
The control of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remains a priority on the public health agenda in Great Britain, after launching in 1998 the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of badger (Meles meles) culling as a control strategy. Our study complements previous analyses of the RBCT data (focusing on treatment effects) by presenting analyses of herd-level risks factors associated with the probability of a confirmed bTB breakdown in herds within each treatment: repeated widespread proactive culling, localized reactive culling and no culling (survey-only).
New cases of bTB breakdowns were monitored inside the RBCT areas from the end of the first proactive badger cull to one year after the last proactive cull. The risk of a herd bTB breakdown was modeled using logistic regression and proportional hazard models adjusting for local farm-level risk factors. Inside survey-only and reactive areas, increased numbers of active badger setts and cattle herds within 1500 m of a farm were associated with an increased bTB risk. Inside proactive areas, the number of M. bovis positive badgers initially culled within 1500 m of a farm was the strongest predictor of the risk of a confirmed bTB breakdown.
The use of herd-based models provide insights into how local cattle and badger populations affect the bTB breakdown risks of individual cattle herds in the absence of and in the presence of badger culling. These measures of local bTB risks could be integrated into a risk-based herd testing programme to improve the targeting of interventions aimed at reducing the risks of bTB transmission.