Subspecies differences in early fetal development and plasma pregnancy-associated glycoprotein concentrations in cattle. Academic Article uri icon


  • Inclusion of Bos indicus genetics improves production traits of cattle maintained in hot climates. Limited information exists detailing pregnancy-specific events as influenced by variable amounts of Bos indicus genetics. Three experiments were completed to examine the effect of Bos taurus and Bos indicus genotypes on fetal size and plasma pregnancy-associated glycoprotein (PAG) concentrations. In all experiments, cows were bred by AI after synchronization of ovulation. Fetal measurements were completed by transrectal ultrasonography and plasma PAG concentrations were quantified from plasma harvested the day of each fetal measurement. In Exp. 1, fetal size and plasma PAG concentrations were measured at d 53 of pregnancy in cows composed of various fractions of Angus and Brahman (n = 9 to 21 cows/group). Fetus size was greater in cows containing >80% Angus genetics compared with cows containing <80% Angus influence (3.40 0.28 vs. 2.86 0.28 cm crown-rump length; P < 0.01). Plasma PAG concentrations were reduced (P < 0.01) in cows containing >80% Angus genetics when compared with their contemporaries (6.0 1.5 ng/mL vs. 9.4 1.5 ng/mL). In Exp. 2, fetal measurements and plasma PAG concentrations were determined at d 35 and 62 of pregnancy in Angus and Brangus cows. Breed did not affect fetus size at d 35, but Angus cows contained larger fetuses than Brangus cows at d 62 [3.0 0.03 vs. 2.8 0.03 cm crown-nose length (CNL; P > 0.01)]. Plasma PAG concentrations were not different between breed at d 35 and 62 (P > 0.1). In Exp. 3, fetal measurements and plasma samples were collected at d 33/34, 40/41, 47/48, and 54/55 post-AI in Angus and Brangus cows. Fetus size was not different (P > 0.05) between genotypes on d 33/34, 40/41, and 47/48. Angus fetuses were larger than Brangus fetuses at d 54/55 (2.1 0.03 vs. 1.9 0.03 cm CNL; P = 0.001). Plasma PAG concentrations were less in Angus than Brangus cows at each time point (average 4.9 0.9 vs. 8.2 0.9 ng/mL; P = 0.005). In conclusion, these studies determined that the Bos taurus Bos indicus genotype impacts fetal size and rate of fetal development by 7 wk of gestation. Plasma PAG concentrations were increased in cattle with Bos indicus genetics in 2 of 3 studies, suggesting that genotype is one of several determinants of PAG production and secretion in cattle.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Mercadante, P. M., Waters, K. M., Mercadante, V., Lamb, G. C., Elzo, M. A., Johnson, S. E., ... Ealy, A. D.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Mercadante, PM||Waters, KM||Mercadante, VRG||Lamb, GC||Elzo, MA||Johnson, SE||Rae, DO||Yelich, JV||Ealy, AD

publication date

  • August 2013