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2024 ◽  
Vol 84 ◽  
I. Rafaqat ◽  
T. Mahmood ◽  
L. M. Hennelly ◽  
F. Akrim ◽  
I. Uz-Zaman ◽  

Abstract The red fox (Vulpes vulpes) is a medium-sized carnivore that occurs in different regions of Pakistan, however, still lacks scientific data on its ecology and distribution. The current study investigated the phylogenetic status and diet of the red fox (V.v. griffithii) occurring in Ayubia National Park, Pakistan. Through camera trapping and molecular analysis, we confirmed the occurrence of red fox in the study area. Based on mitochondrial cytochrome B (304 bp) and limited sampling, nearly all red foxes of Ayubia National Park and surrounding Himalayan ranges fall within Holarctic maternal lineage, whereas red foxes found in plains of Pakistan are part of the basal Palearctic maternal lineage. Using 32 scats, we found that red fox diet comprises of 80% animal-based prey species (both wild and domestic) and 19% plant matter. The wild animal prey species included Cape hare (Lepus capensis) and flying squirrel (Pteromyini sp.), which constituted 17% and 15% of diet, respectively. Red foxes infrequently consumed House mouse (Mus musculus), Himalayan Palm civet (Paguma larvata) and sheep (Ovis aries), each comprising around 6% to 9% of red fox diet. The fox species also scavenged on domestic donkey opportunistically. Based on our sampling, our study suggests that the red fox (V.v. griffithii) that occurs in Ayubia National Park and across the lesser Himalayan ranges belongs to Holarctic maternal lineage. The study also highlights consumption of plant seeds by red foxes, indicating it may play an important ecological role in seed dispersal in Ayubia National Park.

Jie Yang ◽  
Jie Zhao ◽  
Bobo Wang ◽  
Zhisheng Yu

Anaerobic cellulolytic microbes in gastrointestinal tract (GT) of ruminants have been well-documented, however, knowledge of aerobic microbes with cellulolytic activities in ruminant GT is comparably limited. Here, we unraveled aerobic cultivable cellulolytic microbes in GT of Ujimqin sheep (Ovis aries) and evaluated the cellulolytic potential of promising isolates. Twenty-two strains were found to possess cellulose degrading potential by Congo-red staining and phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rDNA/ITS sequence revealed that all strains belonged to nine genera, i.e., Bacillus, Streptomyces, Pseudomonas, Lactobacillus, Brachybacterium, Sanguibacter, Rhizobium, Fusarium, and Aspergillus. Strains with high cellulolytic activities were selected to further evaluate the various enzyme activities on lignocellulosic alfalfa hay (Medicago sativa). Among them, isolate Bacillus subtilis RE2510 showed the highest potential of cellulose degradation considering the high endoglucanase (0.1478 ± 0.0014 IU ml-1), exoglucanase (0.1735 ± 0.0012 IU ml-1) and β-glucosidase (0.3817 ± 0.0031 IU ml-1) after 10-day incubation with alfalfa hay. A significant destruction effect of the cellulose structure and the attachment of B. subtilis RE2510 to the hay were also revealed by using scanning electron microscope. This study expands our knowledge of aerobic cellulolytic isolates from GT of sheep and also highlights their potential application as microbial additive in the aerobic process of cellulose bioconversion.

2022 ◽  
Vol 15 (1) ◽  
Yudhishtar S. Bedi ◽  
Alexis N. Roach ◽  
Kara N. Thomas ◽  
Nicole A. Mehta ◽  
Michael C. Golding

Abstract Background Paternal lifestyle choices and male exposure history have a critical influence on the health and fitness of the next generation. Accordingly, defining the processes of germline programming is essential to resolving how the epigenetic memory of paternal experiences transmits to their offspring. Established dogma holds that all facets of chromatin organization and histone posttranslational modification are complete before sperm exits the testes. However, recent clinical and animal studies suggest that patterns of DNA methylation change during epididymal maturation. In this study, we used complementary proteomic and deep-sequencing approaches to test the hypothesis that sperm posttranslational histone modifications change during epididymal transit. Results Using proteomic analysis to contrast immature spermatozoa and mature sperm isolated from the mouse epididymis, we find progressive changes in multiple histone posttranslational modifications, including H3K4me1, H3K27ac, H3K79me2, H3K64ac, H3K122ac, H4K16ac, H3K9me2, and H4K20me3. Interestingly, some of these changes only occurred on histone variant H3.3, and most involve chromatin modifications associated with gene enhancer activity. In contrast, the bivalent chromatin modifications, H3K4me3, and H3K27me3 remained constant. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with deep sequencing, we find that changes in histone h3, lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27ac) involve sharpening broad diffuse regions into narrow peaks centered on the promoter regions of genes driving embryonic development. Significantly, many of these regions overlap with broad domains of H3K4me3 in oocytes and ATAC-seq signatures of open chromatin identified in MII oocytes and sperm. In contrast, histone h3, lysine 9 dimethylation (H3K9me2) becomes enriched within the promoters of genes driving meiosis and in the distal enhancer regions of tissue-specific genes sequestered at the nuclear lamina. Maturing sperm contain the histone deacetylase enzymes HDAC1 and HDAC3, suggesting the NuRD complex may drive some of these changes. Finally, using Western blotting, we detected changes in chromatin modifications between caput and caudal sperm isolated from rams (Ovis aries), inferring changes in histone modifications are a shared feature of mammalian epididymal maturation. Conclusions These data extend our understanding of germline programming and reveal that, in addition to trafficking noncoding RNAs, changes in histone posttranslational modifications are a core feature of epididymal maturation.

2022 ◽  
Vol 54 (1) ◽  
Sara Casu ◽  
Mario Graziano Usai ◽  
Tiziana Sechi ◽  
Sotero L. Salaris ◽  
Sabrina Miari ◽  

Abstract Background Gastroinestinal nematodes (GIN) are one of the major health problem in grazing sheep. Although genetic variability of the resistance to GIN has been documented, traditional selection is hampered by the difficulty of recording phenotypes, usually fecal egg count (FEC). To identify causative mutations or markers in linkage disequilibrium (LD) to be used for selection, the detection of quantitative trait loci (QTL) for FEC based on linkage disequilibrium-linkage analysis (LDLA) was performed on 4097 ewes (from 181 sires) all genotyped with the OvineSNP50 Beadchip. Identified QTL regions (QTLR) were imputed from whole-genome sequences of 56 target animals of the population. An association analysis and a functional annotation of imputed polymorphisms in the identified QTLR were performed to pinpoint functional variants with potential impact on candidate genes identified from ontological classification or differentially expressed in previous studies. Results After clustering close significant locations, ten QTLR were defined on nine Ovis aries chromosomes (OAR) by LDLA. The ratio between the ANOVA estimators of the QTL variance and the total phenotypic variance ranged from 0.0087 to 0.0176. QTL on OAR4, 12, 19, and 20 were the most significant. The combination of association analysis and functional annotation of sequence data did not highlight any putative causative mutations. None of the most significant SNPs showed a functional effect on genes’ transcript. However, in the most significant QTLR, we identified genes that contained polymorphisms with a high or moderate impact, were differentially expressed in previous studies, contributed to enrich the most represented GO process (regulation of immune system process, defense response). Among these, the most likely candidate genes were: TNFRSF1B and SELE on OAR12, IL5RA on OAR19, IL17A, IL17F, TRIM26, TRIM38, TNFRSF21, LOC101118999, VEGFA, and TNF on OAR20. Conclusions This study performed on a large experimental population provides a list of candidate genes and polymorphisms which could be used in further validation studies. The expected advancements in the quality of the annotation of the ovine genome and the use of experimental designs based on sequence data and phenotypes from multiple breeds that show different LD extents and gametic phases may help to identify causative mutations.

Genes ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 13 (1) ◽  
pp. 96
Alex Caulton ◽  
Ken G. Dodds ◽  
Kathryn M. McRae ◽  
Christine Couldrey ◽  
Steve Horvath ◽  

Robust biomarkers of chronological age have been developed in humans and model mammalian species such as rats and mice using DNA methylation data. The concept of these so-called “epigenetic clocks” has emerged from a large body of literature describing the relationship between genome-wide methylation levels and age. Epigenetic clocks exploit this phenomenon and use small panels of differentially methylated cytosine (CpG) sites to make robust predictions of chronological age, independent of tissue type. Here, we present highly accurate livestock epigenetic clocks for which we have used the custom mammalian methylation array “HorvathMammalMethyl40” to construct the first epigenetic clock for domesticated goat (Capra hircus), cattle (Bos taurus), Red (Cervus elaphus) and Wapiti deer (Cervus canadensis) and composite-breed sheep (Ovis aries). Additionally, we have constructed a ‘farm animal clock’ for all species included in the study, which will allow for robust predictions to be extended to various breeds/strains. The farm animal clock shows similarly high accuracy to the individual species’ clocks (r > 0.97), utilizing only 217 CpG sites to estimate age (relative to the maximum lifespan of the species) with a single mathematical model. We hypothesise that the applications of this livestock clock could extend well beyond the scope of chronological age estimates. Many independent studies have demonstrated that a deviation between true age and clock derived molecular age is indicative of past and/or present health (including stress) status. There is, therefore, untapped potential to utilize livestock clocks in breeding programs as a predictor for age-related production traits.

Animals ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
pp. 28
Bo Li ◽  
Xiaoyu Huang ◽  
Chen Yang ◽  
Ting Ge ◽  
Leiyun Zhao ◽  

MiRNAs are vital regulators and play a major role in cell differentiation, biological development, and disease occurrence. In recent years, many studies have found that miRNAs are involved in the proliferation and differentiation of adipocytes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of miR-27a and its target gene CPT1B on ovine preadipocytes differentiation in Small-tailed Han sheep (Ovis aries). Down-regulation of miR-27a significantly promoted the production of lipid droplets, while overexpression of miR-27a led to a reduction in lipid droplet production. In addition, inhibition of miR-27a led to a significant increase in the expression of genes involved in lipid synthesis, including PPAR γ, SCD, LPL, and FABP4. Target Scan software predicted that CPT1B is a new potential target gene of miR-27a. Further experiments revealed that CPT1B gene expression and protein levels were negatively correlated with miR-27a expression. Overexpression of miR-27a led to a significant decrease in CPT1B mRNA levels and inhibited the accumulation of lipid droplets and vice versa. Moreover, overexpression of CPT1B promoted the synthesis of lipid droplets in ovine preadipocytes. Furthermore, luciferase reporter assays confirmed CPT1B to be a miR-27a direct target gene. This study confirmed that miR-27a increases the expression of genes related to lipid synthesis in ovine preadipocytes by targeting CPT1B, thereby promoting the synthesis of lipid droplets. The results of this study can be used to be exploited in devising novel approaches for improving the IMF content of sheep.

Animals ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 11 (12) ◽  
pp. 3528
Ran Di ◽  
Fengyan Wang ◽  
Ping Yu ◽  
Xiangyu Wang ◽  
Xiaoyun He ◽  

Litter size is an important economic trait in the mutton sheep industry. BMP15 is one of the key candidate genes for litter size in sheep. In this study, the entire ORF region of BMP15 was sequenced in 154 Luzhong mutton ewes, and the novel variations were determined. The association between polymorphism in BMP15 and litter size was analyzed using a general linear model. Six out of a total of thirteen variations were identified to be novel. Association analysis indicated that four (SNPs ENSOART00000010201.1:c.352+342C>A, c.352+1232T>C, c.352+1165A>G and c.353-2036T>A) were significantly associated with litter size. The joint analysis among three major genes (BMP15, BMPR1B and GDF9) exhibited significant interaction effects in three combinations (FecB and c.352+1232T>C of BMP15; FecB and c.352+1165A>G of BMP15; c.352+342C>A of BMP15 and ENSOART00000014382.1:c.994G>A of GDF9). For the SNPs c.352+1232T>C and c.352+342C>A, the global distribution of allele frequencies showed that the highest variation frequency occurs in Western Europe. In conclusion, the results demonstrated that BMP15 is a major gene for litter size in Luzhong mutton sheep and candidate SNPs associated with litter size were identified.

P. Dharani ◽  
T.A. Kannan ◽  
R. Gnanadevi ◽  
Geetha Ramesh ◽  
S. Balasubramanian ◽  

Background: Madras Red sheep is a well-recognized meat type breed reared only on free range system to yield tasty meat. The aim of this study was to determine the gross, microanatomical and ultrastructural details of the interdigital gland in Madras Red sheep. Methods: The interdigital glands were removed immediately after slaughter and subjected for gross morphological, histological, immunohistochemical studies and ultrastructural observations. Result: The results revealed that a well-developed tobacco-pipe shaped interdigital gland was present in all the four limbs which was composed of an orifice, excretory duct, body and bent or flexure. Histologically, wall of the gland was composed of epidermis, dermis and capsule from within outward. Epidermis was made of stratified squamous keratinized epithelium. Dermis was composed of dense irregular connective tissue with sweat, sebaceous glands, arrectores pili muscle and hair follicles were embedded within. The sweat gland appeared as group of tortuous tubules under scanning electron microscope. The oily secretion of the gland helps in maintaining the healthiness of foot during movement of the animal.

2021 ◽  
Edward Narayan ◽  
Gregory Sawyer ◽  
Dylan Fox ◽  
Alan Tilbrook

In this study, we determined the effect(s) of shearing on Australian Merino ewes (Ovis aries). To test this research question, we used a suite of field and laboratory methods including GPS collars, wool cortisol and novel epigenetic markers identified using Illumina NovaSeq RRBS. Single shorn ewes (n =24) kept on their full fleece throughout the entire gestation period while twice shorn ewes (n =24) had their wool shorn early in gestation. We have discovered one locus (Chr20:50404014) which was significantly associated with different shearing treatments (twice or single shorn ewes), (FDR = 0.005). This locus is upstream of a protein coding gene (ENSOARG00000002778.1), which shows similarities to the forkhead box C1 (FOXC1) mRNA using BLAST searches. We discovered that 36 gene loci were significantly modulated either between different shearing treatments or late vs early pregnancy ewes. Similarly, in lambs we identified 16 annotated gene loci that were significant between late vs early pregnancy. Early shorn ewes grazed 10% higher and maintained stronger body condition. Wool cortisol levels were significantly lower in the early shorn ewes during mid- and late gestation. Lambs bred from twice shorn ewes had on average better visual wool quality parameters in terms of micron, spin finesses and curvature. Collectively, this research provides a new dataset combining physiological, molecular epigenetics and digital tracking indices that advances our understanding of how Merino ewes respond to shearing frequency and this information could guide further research on sheep breeding and welfare.

2021 ◽  
Vol 939 (1) ◽  
pp. 012047
B B Shoyusupov ◽  
N R Ruzibayev ◽  
U R Soatov ◽  
N T Shoymurodov

Abstract This article addressed the development and the growth of offspring, the external characteristics and the productivity at different breeding periods of woolly-meaty sheep of Uzbekistan. It was observed that wool productivity was higher in sheep rich in wool-meat than ordinary sheep; sheared wool was 1.26 kg (49.6%), after washing it was 0.97 kg (67.8%), wool length was 2.13 (19.2%) higher. Live weights of lambs from ewes in the experimental groups were determined at birth, at 30 days of age, and 3 months of age. From September 1 to September 20 of the year, the live weight, body size and wool productivity of early inseminated ewes were higher than those of inseminated ewes from late October to November 10. The live weight of lambs obtained from artificially inseminated sheep with frozen semen of typical rams in world gene pool considered semi-fine wool in the meat-wool direction was higher than sheep naturally inseminated with pedigree rams. Accordingly, it was heavier by 00.4 kg (9.3%) at the first day of birth, followed by 0.5 kg (6.8%) at 10 days, and 0.4 kg (1.3%) at 3 months of age.

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