PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

High Arctic avian athlete gives lessons about animal welfare

2011-02-02
(Press-News.org) Researchers report that an arctic relative of the grouse has evolved to cope with its extreme environment by moving efficiently at high speeds or when carrying winter weight. This discovery is of relevance to welfare in the poultry industry where birds are bred to be heavier. Ultimately better understanding the physiology of a natural animal model of extreme weight gain could one day lead to improving the welfare and meat yield of domesticated breeds and so contribute to preventing a future food security crisis.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funded team from The University of Manchester has studied the Svalbard rock ptarmigan within the arctic circle in collaboration with colleagues at Norway's Tromso university; today (02 February) they publish their findings in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Dr Jonathan Codd, who led the research team, said "We can learn a lot from the Svalbard rock ptarmigan because it is so well adapted for life in an extreme environment – minus 20 degrees and dark all day in the winter and then light for almost 24 hours a day in the summer. Like most wild birds, they put on fat for the winter to insulate them from the cold and also as an emergency energy store. For Ptarmigans this fat can be up to 32% of their body weight in the winter.

"We are hoping that the knowledge we gain from our studies will eventually help the poultry meat industry to breed birds that can put on weight quickly but have the necessary physiological features so that they don't suffer as a result."

In an additional paper published in PLoS ONE during November 2010 Dr Codd's team showed that – somewhat counter intuitively – Ptarmigans are actually more energy efficient in their movements when they are heaviest, making them particularly good at conserving resources during the extreme arctic winters when food is scarce and hard to find.

Dr Codd continued "You can see why this might be relevant to farmed birds that put on a lot of weight very quickly. For example, if Ptarmigans have a particular musculoskeletal structure that means being heavy doesn't cause them discomfort, and even makes them more efficient at storing energy, then we might be able to look for these features to breed into farmed birds."

Following this finding, the team went on to investigate the different gaits used by the Ptarmigan. In the work published today, they have shown that the most energy efficient gait for the Ptarmigan is aerial running at high speeds where both feet leave the ground.

Dr Robert Nudds, lead author on the paper said "In the lab, the Ptarmigan use three different gaits: walking, aerial running and an in between gait that we call 'grounded' running because unlike aerial running, but like walking, one foot is always in contact with the ground.

"Much like humans, the aerial running gait involves a springing off of the foot in contact with the ground, which then launches the body up and onwards into the next aerial stride. The leg may be thought of as a pogo stick, the spring compressing when the foot contacts the ground and the weight of the body lands upon it. The main difference being that the spring in the leg comes from elasticity in the tendons. In grounded running, there is still a spring forward from the grounded leg, but not so much as in aerial running when both feet leave the floor."

The research so far has been carried out in the lab where Ptarmigans have been trained to run on a treadmill inside a controlled environment within a Perspex box. This allows the researchers to measure the rate at which they are using Oxygen and therefore how energy efficient their movements are. The next stage of the research is to explore the energy efficiency of Ptarmigan movements in the wild.

Dr Nudds continued "We're actually not sure if the Ptarmigan definitely use grounded running in the wild – it could just be that we are asking them to move at a speed they don't particularly use outside."

Dr Codd added "The terrain may be very important as well. If it is very rough or if obstacles are covered by snow, they will need to be able to change direction quite quickly and so having both feet off the ground would be a distinct disadvantage. In that case they might be more likely to use walking or grounded running, which while less energy efficient, probably overall would enable them to find more food."

Professor Janet Allen, Director of Research, BBSRC said "It is really important that we increase food production and that includes meat. Our aim is to do this sustainably and with the same or improved welfare of the animals that are farmed. Studies such as this that tell us about the basic underlying biology of animals that operate in extreme environments are not only fascinating but can also tell us a great deal about how to breed farmed animals that are fit, healthy and productive."

###

END



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Cluster encounters a natural particle accelerator

Cluster encounters a natural particle accelerator
2011-02-02
ESA's Cluster satellites have flown through a natural particle accelerator just above Earth's atmosphere. The data they collected are unlocking how most of the dramatic displays of the northern and southern lights are generated. Two of Cluster's four satellites found themselves in a natural particle accelerator above the northern hemisphere on 5 June 2009. The first to cross was satellite C3 at an altitude of 6400 km, followed five minutes later by C1 at 9000 km. This is the first time that scientists have measured such a region simultaneously using more than one satellite. ...

Study links physical activity to political participation

2011-02-02
How is going for a jog like voting for president? As far as our brains are concerned, physical activity and political activity are two sides of the same coin. Scientists found that people who live in more active states are also more likely to vote. And in an experiment, volunteers who were exposed to active words like "go" and "move" said they were more likely to vote than did people who saw words like "relax" and "stop." The study was inspired by research showing that brains lump all kinds of activity together. For instance, a message that's meant to promote fitness—physical ...

Researchers unlock the potential for exploring kidney regeneration

2011-02-02
Boston, MA - It is estimated that up to 10 percent of the U.S. population may have some form of renal disease, with 450,000 patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) requiring hemodialysis. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh have identified a cell in zebrafish that can be transplanted from one fish to another to regenerate nephrons, providing the potential to improve kidney function. These findings are published in the February 3 edition of Nature. Currently, the five-year survival rate for ...

Where has all the Gulf spill oil gone?

Where has all the Gulf spill oil gone?
2011-02-02
New Rochelle, NY, February 1, 2011—Many questions remain about the fate and environmental impact of the marine oil caused by the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform. A predictive model based on engineering design tools is described in an article in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. www.liebertpub.com). The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/ees Unlike more common surface spills, the Deepwater Horizon incident was the first spill to release ...

Brain scans predict likely success when it comes to quitting smoking

2011-02-02
New research from University of Michigan says brain scans showing neural reactions can predict behavior change even better than the person whose brain is being scanned. Emily Falk, director of University of Michigan's Communication Neuroscience Laboratory, recently led a study that scanned the brain activity of 28 heavy smokers to investigate whether pro-health messages would have an impact on their ability to quit smoking. The smokers were recruited from an anti-smoking program. The researchers found a positive relationship exists between observed brain activity and ...

Therapeutic AIDS vaccine designed by HIVACAT reduces the viral load in the majority of AIDS patients

2011-02-02
The therapeutic vaccines are a priority research line of the HIVACAT, the catalan programme for the development of therapeutic vaccines and prevention against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This type of therapeutic vaccine helps the patients who are carriers of the virus, combat infection and control the appearance of AIDS in the same way as with the current antiretroviral treatments. The final aim of the therapeutic vaccines will be to avoid a life long treatment with antiretroviral drugs. The research team 'Infectious Diseases and AIDS' led by Dr. Josep Maria ...

Technology protects cotton from caterpillar's appetite

Technology protects cotton from caterpillars appetite
2011-02-02
BLACKVILLE, S.C. — The furry-looking insects start their development smaller than the head of a pin, but the caterpillars soon develop an appetite for cotton as big as the crop. To demonstrate the insects' destructive power, Clemson University entomologist Jeremy Greene planted two cotton varieties — one genetically modified to provide protection from caterpillars, one not — in a demonstration field at the Edisto Research and Education Center. The non-protected cotton was planted in a pattern that spelled the word "Tigers." Aerial photographs taken near harvest show ...

PET scans may allow early prediction of response to targeted therapy of thyroid cancer

2011-02-02
Reston, Va. (February 1, 2011) — Positron emission tomography (PET) can image metabolic changes following treatment with the protein kinase inhibitor vandetanib, helping to define the therapy response or the effectiveness of the therapeutic agent, according to research published in the February issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. Currently being tested in clinical trials, vandetanib inhibits the function of the RET (rearranged-during-transfection protein) proto-oncogene and other protein kinases involved in the development and progression of cancer. "For the most ...

Barrow TRPV1 research highlighted in Journal of Neuroscience

2011-02-02
(Phoenix, Arizona February 1, 2011) -- Research by a Barrow Neurological Institute scientist on the thermoregulatory effects of a receptor more commonly studied for its role in pain is the cover story in the Feb. 2 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The research was conducted by an international team led by Andrej Romanovsky, MD, PhD, Director of the Systemic Inflammation Laboratory (FeverLab), at Barrow, which is a part of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. The featured research discovers a new role of TRPV1 (transient receptor potential vanilloid-1) receptors ...

Gestures provide a helping hand in problem solving

2011-02-02
WASHINGTON — Talking with your hands can trigger mental images that help solve complex problems relating to spatial visualization, an important skill for both students and professionals, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. Spatial visualization is the ability to mentally rotate or move an object to a different position or view. An air traffic controller uses spatial visualization to mentally track planes in the air based only on a two-dimensional radar screen. An interior decorator needs spatial visualization to picture how ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

12.5, the 1st Impact Factor of COMMTR released!

Circadian clock impact on cluster headaches funded by $2.4M NIH grant for UTHealth Houston research

Study identifies first drug therapy for sleep apnea

How old is your bone marrow?

Boosting biodiversity without hurting local economies

ChatGPT is biased against resumes with credentials that imply a disability — but it can improve

Simple test for flu could improve diagnosis and surveillance

UT Health San Antonio researcher awarded five-year, $2.53 million NIH grant to study alcohol-assisted liver disease

Giving pre-med students hands-on clinical training

CAMH research suggests potential targets for prevention and early identification of psychotic disorders

Mapping the heart to prevent damage caused by a heart attack

Study challenges popular idea that Easter islanders committed ‘ecocide’

Chilling discovery: Study reveals evolution of human cold and menthol sensing protein, offering hope for future non-addictive pain therapies.

Elena Beccalli, new rector of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, takes office on 1st July

Pacific Northwest Research Institute uncovers hidden DNA mechanisms of rare genetic diseases

Empowering older adults: Wearable tech made easier with personalized support

Pennington Biomedical researchers partner on award-winning Long Covid study

Cooling ‘blood oranges’ could make them even healthier – a bonus for consumers

Body image and overall health found important to the sexual health of older gay men, according to new studies

Lab-grown muscles reveal mysteries of rare muscle diseases

Primary hepatic angiosarcoma: Treatment options for a rare tumor

Research finds causal evidence tying cerebral small-vessel disease to Alzheimer’s, dementia

Navigating the Pyrocene: Recent Cell Press papers on managing fire risk

Restoring the Great Salt Lake would have environmental justice as well as ecological benefits

Cannabis, tobacco use, and COVID-19 outcomes

A 5:2 intermittent fasting meal replacement diet and glycemic control for adults with diabetes

Scientists document self-propelling oxygen decline in the oceans

Activating molecular target reverses multiple hallmarks of aging

Cannabis use tied to increased risk of severe COVID-19

How to make ageing a ‘fairer game’ for all wormkind

[Press-News.org] High Arctic avian athlete gives lessons about animal welfare