The aim of this study was to determine whether the number of animals used in experiments examining reproductive variables could be reduced without loss of statistical efficiency by using monozygotic twin (NIT) sheep. In a series of four experiments, we measured the reproductive responses to changes in nutritional, opioidergic, and calcium status and calculated values for twin efficiency (TE) for each variable. In Experiment 1, we monitored the changes in gonadotrophin and testosterone secretion, scrotal circumference and live weight, of MT rams after an acute change in nutritional regime. In Experiment 2, we examined the changes in ovulation rate and gonadotrophin secretion in MT ewes following treatment with bovine follicular fluid. In Experiment 3, we determined responses to naloxone and exogenous calcium on gonadotrophin secretion in MT rams. In Experiment 4, we investigated the effects of naloxone and exogenous calcium on the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis of NIT ewes. The TE values were high only for live weight and scrotal circumference; the other reproductive traits had less variation between than within NIT pairs, suggesting that randomly selected animals were just as efficient as genetically identical twins in experiments examining physiological reproductive traits. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
|Publication status||Published - 2007|