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Comparative Study
, 60 (3), 622-31

Breed Group Differences in Testicular Growth Patterns in Spring-Born Ram Lambs

Comparative Study

Breed Group Differences in Testicular Growth Patterns in Spring-Born Ram Lambs

D R Notter et al. J Anim Sci.

Abstract

Three groups of spring-born ram lambs were used to assess breed group differences in testicular growth patterns through 5 mo of age. Group 1 included 20 3/4-Finnish Landrace (Finn), 1/4-Rambouillet rams and 31 1/8-Finn, 7/8-Rambouillet rams. Group 2 included 23 3/4-Finn, 1/4-Dorset rams and 19 1/8-Finn, 7/8-Dorset rams. Group 3 included 21 black-faced (BF) rams (six Hampshire and 15 Suffolk) and 46 whitefaced (WF) rams (nine Dorset, 20 Barbados Blackbelly X Dorset, 10 Finn X Dorset and six Dorset X Finn). Scrotal circumference (C) was measured at 19, 43, 72, 100, 128 and 153 d in Group 1; at 20, 48, 76, 93 and 153 d in Group 2 and at 40, 60, 81, 103, 124 and 158 d in Group 3. Breed group X age interaction was tested to assess breed group differences in testicular growth patterns, and logistic curves were used to describe increases in scrotal circumference with age. In Group 1, 3/4-Finn and 1/8-Finn rams were similar in estimated final scrotal circumference at 150 d of age (260 and 259 mm, respectively), but rapid testicular growth began earlier in 3/4-Finn rams. The estimated age at which the growth rate in scrotal circumference was maximum was 81 d for 3/4-Finn rams and 93 d for 1/8-Finn rams. No differences were observed in testicular growth in Group 2 rams. However, in Group 3, smaller WF rams matured more rapidly than larger BF rams. Growth in scrotal circumference was most rapid at 99 d in BF rams and 88 d in WF rams. Within WF rams, Barbados Blackbelly X Dorset and Finn X Dorset rams matured earlier than Dorsets. In all groups, the primary breed difference was associated with age differences during the period of rapid testicular growth.

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