Preliminary results are given of a study of follicle differences between a progeny-tested fleeceweight (FWT) line of sheep and a control (CLT) flock which was conducted during winter. Measurements using immunocytochemistry and image analysis on skin biopsies were based upon the use of intracutaneously administered bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) to assess the replicating cell population in wool follicles. The FWT animals showed a significant advantage over the CLT animals in number of replicating cells, papilla length, papilla area and area of replicating zone in the follicle bulb. There were no significant differences between the flocks in the ratio of primary to secondary follicles or in the number of active follicles. The mitotic density was similar in both flocks. The greater productivity of FWT sheep appears to be accounted for by a larger proliferative zone rather than a higher cell replication rate.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 52, , 229-232, 1992
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