Today is the last day of the American Dairy Science Association – American Society of Animal Science Midwest Meeting in Des Moines, and a doctoral candidate from the Davis College’s reproductive physiology program is garnering attention for her research:
T. A. Wilmoth from West Virginia University discussed her research into the “Relationship of placental and endometrial vascularity and muscle characteristics of fetal pigs.” Wilmoth and her fellow researchers wanted to know if exercise during gestation affected the growth of muscle fibers in growing fetuses. Wilmoth said this topic is especially important as more states consider legislation to ban gestation crates in swine production.
In the study, pigs in the experimental group were taken out to exercise daily. Depending on the phase of gestation, the pigs exercised for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. The researchers then removed three fetuses from the pigs and measured the area, diameter and number of muscle fibers in the fetuses.
They found that diameter and area of muscle fibers were the same in both groups, but the fetuses with exercising mothers had fewer secondary muscle fibers.
“Muscle weights were reduced in response to maternal exercise during gestation,” said Wilmoth.
Wilmoth said it is important to look at how exercise affects muscle growth because muscle composition translates to meat quality.
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