Advancing puberty in female sheep: it's all about fat and muscle

Cesar Rosales Nieto

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    1737 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] The reproductive efficiency of the entire sheep flock could be improved if ewe lambs go through puberty early and produce their first lamb at one year of age, rather than the more ‘traditional’ two years. The onset of puberty is linked to the attainment of critical body mass so the aim of the research described in this thesis was to test the general hypothesis that, in Merino ewe lambs, accelerating the rate of growth and the accumulation of muscle and fat will advance puberty and improve reproductive success. A secondary hypothesis tested was that the effects of accelerated growth on reproduction are mediated by changes in the concentrations of follistatin and leptin.
    We studied the statistical relationships between reproductive performance and a variety of measures of growth and body composition: phenotypic values for depth of eye muscle (EMD) and depth of fat (FAT) and genotypic values (Australian Sheep Breeding Values) for similar measures made post-weaning, live weight (PWT) and depths of eye muscle (PEMD) and depth of fat (PFAT). First oestrus was detected with vasectomized rams and then entire rams as the ewes progressed from 6 to 10 months of age.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2013

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