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Title: Selection for lower residual feed intake in mice is accompanied by increased body fatness and lower activity but not lower metabolic rate
Contributor(s): Hebart, M L (author); Herd, R M  (author)orcid ; Oddy, V H  (author)orcid ; Geiser, F  (author)orcid ; Pitchford, W S (author)
Publication Date: 2021
Early Online Version: 2021-05-11
DOI: 10.1071/AN20664
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Context. Mice bred to be genetically different in feed efficiency were used in this experiment designed to help improve our knowledge of the biological basis of variation in feed efficiency between individual animals.

Aims. This experiment used mice to explore the metabolic basis of genetic variation in feed efficiency in the growing animal.

Methods. Mice bred to differ in residual feed intake (RFI) recorded over a postweaning test were used. After 11 generations of divergent selection, mice in groups were tested for RFI from 6 to 8, 8 to 10, and 10 to 12 weeks of age, and measured for traits describing the ability to digest feed, body composition, protein turnover, basal and resting metabolic rate, and level of activity.

Key results. Compared with the low-RFI (high efficiency) line mice, high-RFI mice consumed 28% more feed per day over their RFI-test, were no heavier, were leaner (16% less total fat per unit of bodyweight), did not differ in the fractional synthesis rate of protein in skeletal muscle or in liver, and had similar basal metabolic rates at 33°C. On an energy basis, the selection lines did not differ in energy retained in body tissue gain, which represented only 1.8% of metabolisable energy intake. The remaining 98.2% was lost as heat. Of the processes measured contributing to the higher feed intake by the high-RFI mice, 47% of the extra feed consumed was lost in faeces and urine, activity was 84% higher and accounted for 24%, the cost of protein gain was 6% higher and accounted for 2%, and the energy cost of digesting and absorbing the extra feed consumed and basal heat production could have accounted for 11 and 15% each.

Conclusions. Selection for low RFI (high efficiency) in mice was accompanied by an increase in body fat, an improvement in the process of digestion, a lower rate of protein turnover and a much lower level of activity. Selection did not result in major change in basal metabolic rate.

Implications. This experiment with mice provided new information on the biological basis of genetic differences in feed efficiency. The experiment investigated the relative importance of major energy-consuming metabolic processes and was able to quantify the responses in protein turnover and level of activity, being responses in energy-consuming processes that have proven difficult to quantitatively demonstrate in large farm animals.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Production Science, 61(13), p. 1303-1314
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1836-5787
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 310907 Animal physiological ecology
310912 Comparative physiology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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