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J Anim Sci. 2009 Apr;87(14 Suppl):E48-63. doi: 10.2527/jas.2008-1379. Epub 2008 Nov 21.

Association of mitochondrial function and feed efficiency in poultry and livestock species.

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Department of Poultry Science, Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701, USA.


As grain prices have increased dramatically in the past year, understanding the fundamental genetic, cellular, and biochemical mechanisms responsible for feed efficiency (FE; g of gain/g of feed) or residual feed intake (RFI; an alternative feed efficiency trait that quantifies interanimal variation in DMI that is unexplained by differences in BW and growth rate) in livestock and poultry is extremely important with respect to maintaining viable meat production practices in the United States. Although breed and diet have long been known to affect mitochondrial function, few studies have investigated differences in mitochondrial function and biochemistry due to interanimal phenotypic differences in FE or RFI (i.e., variation among animals of the same breed and fed the same diet). This paper reviews existing literature on relationships of mitochondrial function and biochemistry with FE and RFI in poultry and livestock. The overall goal of all of this paper is to assist the development of tools (e.g., genetic markers or biomarkers) to aid commercial breeding companies in genetic selection that, in turn, will help maintain viable livestock and poultry industries in the United States and around the world.

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