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J Anim Sci. 2013 Apr;91(4):1582-93. doi: 10.2527/jas.2012-5787. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Cell Biology Symposium: feed efficiency: mitochondrial function to global gene expression.

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


Understanding the cellular basis of feed efficiency (FE) is instrumental to helping poultry and livestock industries continue to provide high-quality protein for an increasingly crowded world. To understand relationships of FE and gene expression, global RNA transcription was investigated in breast muscle obtained from a male broiler line fed the same diet and individually phenotyped for FE. In these studies, RNA samples obtained from broilers that exhibited either high FE (0.65 ± 0.01) or low FE (0.46 ± 0.01) were analyzed with an Agilent 44K chicken oligoarray. A 1.3-fold cutoff in expression (30% difference between groups) resulted in 782 genes that were differentially expressed (P < 0.05) in muscle between the high- and low-FE phenotypes. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis, an online software program, was used to identify genes, gene networks, and pathways associated with the phenotypic expression of FE. The results indicate that the high-FE phenotype exhibited increased expression of genes associated with 1) signal transduction pathways, 2) anabolic activities, and 3) energy-sensing and energy coordination activities, all of which would likely be favorable to cell growth and development. In contrast, the low-FE broiler phenotype exhibited upregulation of genes 1) associated with actin-myosin filaments, cytoskeletal architecture, and muscle fibers and 2) stress-related or stress-responsive genes. Because the low-FE broiler phenotype exhibits greater oxidative stress, it would appear that the low-FE phenotype is the product of inherent gene expression that is modulated by oxidative stress. The results of these studies begin to provide a comprehensive picture of gene expression in muscle, a major organ of energy demand in an animal, associated with phenotypic expression of FE.

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