European husbandry contains animals that are decennia long selected for high production. They are the best producers in the world. Although the genetics of the animals have been changed over the years, the housing and in particular the management of these animals have not been adapted properly to them and might be suboptimal. The strict genetic selection for production seems to have lead to a reduced capability to adapt to these conditions and environments. As a result, animal health and welfare can be seriously affected. The high yielding animals seem to have a reduced immune competence and are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. As a consequence antibiotics and other therapeutics are more and more used daily round bringing the livestock breeding industry in an unfavourable social climate. A new way, other than the use of medicines, has to be found and followed to solve these problems. This is only possible if we develop a better understanding of the origin of diseases and of the susceptibility to the animals to diseases.
The objective of this research proposal is to gain information on altered patterns of development and gene expression. This can gain an insight into the origin of diseases and into resistance against infectious diseases. The information is of vital importance for the development of future stategies to eliminate the problems on health and welfare. The research will concentrate on gene acitvation during early embryogenesis. The in vitro embryo production (IVP) system will used as a Model. Work Content. The workprogramme brings together many issues and approaches by the partners involved. They will study different stages of embryo development with complementary skills and facilities. They will compare in vivo, with in vitro, culture with and without serum, synchronous with a synchronous transfer in order to have different conditions and environments for the developing embryo.
They do this along four well defined lines, each subdivided in different tasks for the partners.
1. Morphological and cellular studies. Selection of cumulus-oocyte-complexes; Nuclear architecture and chromatin modification in early embryos; Differential staining of embryonic cells; Morphology of embryo compaction, blastocoel formation and differentiation of ectoderm, mesoderm and entoderm;
2. Biochemical, molecular and hormonal studies. Imprinted genes in oocytes and embryos. Housekeeping genes in embryogenesis; Analysis of one batch of serum. Protein content in embryos .
3. Developmental studies. Asynchronous embryo transfer; Synchronous transfers in different uterine environments.
4. Inventory of the consequences in vivo. Autopsies of fetus at 60 days (sheep) and 100 days (cattle): size and weight of organs; Measuring of types and amounts of immunoglobulins.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
78352 Jouy En Josas
EH25 9PS Roslin - Midlothian