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The overarching goal of this project is to improve the quality and efficiency of meat production in swine. We are pursuing this goal in order to maintain the sustainability and competitiveness of the U.S. swine industry. To do this, we need to both reduce production costs and minimize the environmental impact of swine production. Underlying both of these needs is the goal of improving the lean growth of pigs. In order to achieve this goal, we need a comprehensive understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of meat production (muscle growth and development). In this project we seek to understand how a class of enzymes regulate muscle growth during both fetal and post-natal development. Our central hypothesis is that by affecting the activity of specific enzymes, we can alter the behavior of the stem cells that are responsible for lifetime muscle growth and therefore the lifetime growth performance potential of swine.In order to pursue our overall goal of improving the sustainability of swine production, we intend to indentify key interactions between nutrition, genetics and physiology that underpin growth performance. In pursuit of this goal, this project has the following objectives:1) Determine the impact of tributyrin supplementation during gestation and early neonatal life on muscle growth and development.2) Indentify epigenetic changes in the stem cells responsibile for lifetime muscle growth in response to tributyrin treatment.3) Indentify the permenance of the epigenetic changes in these stem cells in response to treatment during early development.We expect that the completion of our proposed studies in support of our objectives will: a) elucidate the impact of pre and post-natal tributyrin supplementation on the programming of muscle development and feed efficiency, b) provide a comprehensive understanding of the epigentic alterations of muscle cells, c) identify metabolic changes that persist throughout life in response to pre and/or post-natal tributyrin supplementation. We expect to be able to develop novel management practices that will help maximize lean growth potential and thereby improve the sustainability of the U.S. swine industry. This information is expected to be particularly usefull in ameliorating the negative consequences to sustainability that are caused by low birth weight pigs. Additionally, by increasing our understanding of the mechanisms which regulat muscle growht and development, we expect this work to lead to new avenues of research to further maximize the efficiency of meat production.

Stahl, C.; Murray, Ro, .
University of Iceland
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