Double-muscled (DM) cattle have increased numbers of muscle fibres and most muscles are heavier, although certain muscles are reduced in weight relative to non-double-muscled animals. This study was undertaken to investigate whether this differential muscle growth seen in the adult was apparent during foetal growth. Foetuses with presumptive DM phenotype were compared to presumptive non-double-muscled controls (NDM), at four gestational ages. Body weight (p=0.001), but not crown rump length was greater in DM foetuses. Both the M. vastus lateralis and the M. vastus medialis were heavier in the DM (p0.001). In DM there were fewer type 1 fibres per fascicle in both muscles (p=0.001), and M. vastus lateralis, at 210 and 260 days, had smaller type 1 fibre areas (p=0.001). In conclusion, our data demonstrate differences in muscle development between DM and NDM foetuses, and suggest that the relatively reduced size of M. vastus medialis in the DM adult, is attained postnatally.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 57, , 278-281, 1997
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