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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2020) 18 CPRCPR28 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.18.0028

CPR2009 Control of Pig Reproduction VIII Control of Prenatal Development (4 abstracts)

Prenatal programming of postnatal development in the pig

G.R. Foxcroft 1 , W.T. Dixon 1 , M.K. Dyck 1 , S. Novak 1 & J.C.S. Harding 2 and F.C.R.L. Almeida

1Swine Reproduction-Development Program, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2P5, Canada; 2Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, 52 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5B4, Canada; 3Laboratory of Structural Biology and Reproduction, Department of Morphology, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Studies of low birth weight offspring have a long history in pig science. These pigs have reduced growth potential and poor carcass quality compared to their higher birth weight littermates. In contemporary commercial sows with between 10 and 15 total pigs born/litter, between-litter differences in average birth weight appear to make the largest contribution to variation in postnatal growth performance, independent of numbers born. Low birth weight is a characteristic of a subpopulation of these sows, likely as a consequence of an imbalance between ovulation rate and uterine capacity due to ongoing selection for litter size. Based on experimental studies, we hypothesize that increased crowding at day 30 of gestation primarily affects placental development and persistent negative impacts on placental growth then affect fetal development. However, embryonic myogenic gene expression is already affected at day 30. Latent effects of metabolic state on oocyte quality and early embryonic development have also been reported. In contrast to effects of uterine crowding, the embryo is primarily affected by previous catabolism. The large body of literature on gene imprinting, and the interactions between metabolism, nutrition, and methylation state, suggest that classic imprinting mechanisms may be involved. However, the potential use of genomics, epigenomics, nutrigenomics, and proteomics to investigate these mechanisms brings new demands on experimental design and data management that present a considerable challenge to the effectiveness of future research on prenatal programming in the pig.

© 2009 Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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