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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Changes in fetal organ weights during gestation after selection for ovulation rate and uterine capacity in swine.

We hypothesized that the ability of the fetus to alter nutrient shunting and organ growth might be associated with uterine capacity. White crossbred gilts from a randomly selected control line, a line selected for ovulation rate, and a line selected for uterine capacity ( UC) were unilaterally hysterectomized-ovariectomized at 160 d of age, mated at estrus, and slaughtered at 45, 65, 85, and 105 d of gestation (9 to 18 gilts for each line x day combination). Analysis of the data revealed that heart weights and fetal weights were decreased in the ovulation rate line. No significant differences were obtained in fetal, placental, or fetal organ weights between the control and UC lines. Allometric growth of organs was assessed by examination of the slopes of the relationships between fetal weights and fetal organ weights after natural log transformation. Only the relative growth of the liver differed between selection lines and was greater (P = 0.01) in the UC compared with the control line during early pregnancy (d 45 and 65). Allometric growth of the fetal brain, liver, and heart differed with day of gestation. A brain-sparing effect was greater (P < 0.01) on d 85 and 105 compared with d 45 and 65. By contrast, a heart-sparing effect was present during early gestation and disappeared in later gestation. Fetal liver weights were hypersensitive to differences in fetal weights on d 45, possibly associated with placental effects on fetal liver weight. Fetal spleen weights were proportional to fetal weights throughout gestation. These results indicate that selection for ovulation rate decreased total fetal and fetal heart weights, and that selection for UC altered the relationship between total fetal and fetal liver weights during early gestation. Results further indicate significant changes in allometric growth of organs during gestation.[1]


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