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SPASE Publications

Haemonchus contortus genome and transcriptome

In collaboration with colleagues at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the University of Calgary and other institutions world-wide, Module 1 scientists at the University of Glasgow and Moredun have published a draft genome sequence of Haemonchus contortus in ‘Genome Biology’. This is a significant research highlight, as it represents the first strongylid genome to be published and the most extensive transcriptomic dataset for any parasitic nematode to date. Online press received over 21 million views demonstrating the interest and relevance in this area and the paper itself is a ‘highly accessed’ publication.

  • Laing R, et al. 2013. The genome and transcriptome of Haemonchus contortus, a key model parasite for drug and vaccine discovery. Genome Biol 14:R88

Processing and storage of ruminal digesta samples

Methods used to collect and store digesta samples have a critical bearing on the subsequent community analysis. Studies carried out in WS1.2.9 demonstrated the critical importance of using a cryoprotectant such as glycerol to protect samples. Otherwise, the abundance of organisms vulnerable to freezing, such as Bacteroidetes, will be underestimated.  Fortunately, the methanogenic archaea, which are central to this WS, were unaffected. Thus, retrospective analysis for archaeal communities in unprotected samples will be possible. This work was published in the Journal of Microbiological Methods.

  • McKain N, Genc B, Snelling TJ, Wallace RJ. 2013. Differential recovery of bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA genes from ruminal digesta in response to glycerol as cryoprotectant. J. Microbiol. Methods. 95:381-3

Programming of growth and body composition

Low birth weight is a risk factor for poor carcass conformation with putative financial penalties for producers. SPASE Module 2 scientists investigated the relationship between the prenatal and early postnatal growth trajectories, metabolism and body composition in intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR) and normal birthweight lambs of both sexes. IUGR lambs exhibited higher fractional growth for eight parameters of body size and displayed altered glucose handling, but remained smaller at weaning. Gender rather than birthweight was the predominant influence on body composition at weaning with females fatter than males. Thus prenatal growth status and gender are both likely to influence size and carcass composition at slaughter. This work was published in the journal, Reproduction, Fertility and Development.

  • Wallace JM, Milne JS, Aitken RP, Adam CL. 2013.  Impact of embryo donor adiposity, birthweight and gender on early postnatal growth, glucose metabolism and body composition in the young lamb. Repro. Fert. Dev

Programming of appetite in livestock

Food intake, which is clearly fundamental to livestock production, is controlled from within the brain. Module 2 scientists published studies in the Journal of Developmental Neuroscience in which they investigated influence of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) on developing brain appetite control pathways in lambs at weaning. In spite of higher neonatal fractional growth rates, the study revealed no effect of IUGR on these pathways. However, females were fatter than males and had greater expression of appetite-inhibitory genes, while males were leaner/had greater expression of appetite-stimulating genes, thus revealing a major effect of gender on developing appetite control pathways associated with sex differences in amount of body fat.

  • Adam CL, Bake T, Findlay PA, Milne JS, Aitken RP, Wallace JM. 2013. Impact of birth weight and gender on early postnatal hypothalamic energy balance regulatory gene expression in the young lamb. Int J Dev Neurosci 31:608-15.