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in Agriculture
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Publications

2019
Ibrahim, D. ; Goshu, G. ; Esatu, W. ; Cahaner, A. Dual-purpose production of genetically different chicken crossbreeds in Ethiopia. 1. Parent stocks' feed intake, body weight, and reproductive performance. Poultry science 2019, 98, 3119-3129. Publisher's VersionAbstract
A total of 6 chicken parent stocks (PS) bred by European companies, and 1 local PS, were evaluated under Ethiopian condition for their reproductive performance, to be followed by testing dual-purpose performance of their crossbreed progeny. The imported PS were Lohmann Brown (LB), Lohmann Dual (LD), NOVOgen Brown (NB), NOVOgen Color (NC), Dominant Sussex (DS), and Dominant Red Barred (DR); Koekoek (KK) was obtained locally. They were reared in replicated floor-pens from 16 to 60 wk of age, and evaluated for feed intake, body weight (BW), egg production, fertility, and hatchability. In total, 1,810 females and 261 males were distributed over 4 houses in randomized blocks design. Additionally, 3 experimental crosses, R × K (DR females × KK males), S × R (DS females × DR males), and K × S (KK females × DS males) were evaluated for fertility and hatchability. The PS differed in BW, feed intake, age of sexual maturity, egg production, fertility, and hatchability. Among females, DR and DS had the highest BW, whereas LB, NB, and NC had the lowest BW. Final mean BW of the parental meat-type males of NC and LD were the highest (5,027 and 3,660 g, respectively), whereas the other parental males ranged from 2,585 to 2,955 g. Fertility of NC and LD was low because the heavy parental males had difficulty to mate naturally their small-body female mates. However, with artificial insemination (AI), fertility of NC and LD was between 75 and 80%, similar to the other 5 PS. The fertility and hatchability of eggs laid by DR, DS, and KK hens was improved by 6.3% in the experimental crosses, where these hens were mated with genetically different males. The LD hens exhibited the highest overall laying rate (64.2%) during the study period, and with AI, hatchability of LD eggs (66.6%) was the highest, making it the best chick producer. Thus, despite its high total feed intake (but similar to DR, DS, and KK), LD (followed by DR) was the best PS in this study under floor management in Ethiopia. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Poultry Science Association 2019.
Ibrahim, D. ; Goshu, G. ; Esatu, W. ; Cahaner, A. Dual-purpose production of genetically different chicken crossbreeds in Ethiopia. 2. Egg and meat production of the final-crossbreed females and males. Poultry science 2019, 98, 3405-3417. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Females and males of 7 commercial (ComCb) and 3 experimental (ExpCb) crossbreeds were produced by 6 imported parent stocks (PS) and 1 local PS. The ComCb were Dominant Red Barred (DR), Dominant Sussex (DS), Lohmann Brown (LB), Lohmann-Dual, NOVOgen Brown (NB), NOVOgen Color (NC), and local Koekoek (KK). The ExpCb were (dams × sires) DR × KK (R × K), DS × DR (S × R), and KK × DS (K × S). The females were reared to 60 wk of age, and recorded data included BW, BWG, feed intake, egg number, and egg weight, allowing the calculation of egg mass and feed conversion ratio (FCR). The males were reared to 16 wk of age and recoded data included feed intake, BW, FCR, and carcass characteristics. A total of 621 females and 516 males were tested in sex-separated trials, each with 3 replicated floor pens per crossbreed. The overall value of each crossbreed was determined by overall egg production, 60-wk BW and FCR of females, and by 16-wk BW, carcass yield, and FCR of males. The highest laying rate was exhibited by LB (68%) and NB (66%), followed by RxK and K × S (∼62%). The crossbreeds differed in feed intake and in females' FCR, with LB leading (2.74) followed by NB and S × R (3.07) then DR (3.18). In egg production, LB, followed by NB, were the best, as expected from specialized table-egg crossbreeds. The highest 16-wk BW of males and best FCR were exhibited by NC, followed by NB. In summary, LB was the best egg-producing crossbreed, but poor in meat production. Better choice for dual-purpose production would be NB, ranked second in egg production and in males' BW and FCR. NC was the best meat-producing (males and spent hens) crossbreed and the hens were second in egg-mass production. Hence, NC might be the best dual-purpose hybrid where artificial insemination is feasible and the consumers prefer large eggs and birds. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Poultry Science Association 2019.
2017
Simon, Y. ; Levavi-Sivan, B. ; Cahaner, A. ; Hulata, G. ; Antler, A. ; Rozenfeld, L. ; Halachmi, I. A behavioural sensor for fish stress. Aquacultural Engineering 2017, 77, 107-111. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Due to water turbidity, fish stress might be difficult to observe. Evaluation of fish stress by blood sampling requires removing a fish from the water, which is in itself a stressful event. Therefore, we designed and built a sensor to detect fish behaviour that reflects stress. The electronic sensor detected early signs of fish stress by scoring the fish's inactivity. LEDs and detectors are embedded on a steel wand that is held underwater by an operator. In this preliminary (feasibility) study, the new sensor was validated for Tilapia (Cichlidae) and Hybrid Striped Bass (Morone). We induced stressful situations in the fish tanks by manipulating oxygen and temperature levels. Results Lowering the temperature and oxygen levels both significantly increased the average number of signals identified by the sensor, which indicate stress. The effect of reducing water temperature from 24 °C to 15 °C was three times stronger than was the effect of lowering the oxygen saturation level from 85% to 50%. The difference in the number of signals between the good and stressful conditions was statistically significant, amounting to approximately eight sensor signals, 10.57 compared to 2.49 respectively. Lowering the temperature increased the mean number of signals by 5.85 and 6.06 at 85% and 50% oxygen saturation respectively, whereas lowering oxygen levels increased the mean number of signals by 2.02 and 2.23 at 24 °C and 15 °C, respectively. The results indicate that the stress status of cultured fish can be evaluated using the proposed behavioural sensor. The new sensor may provide an earlier indication of a problem in a fish tank or pond than was heretofore possible. This early warning can enable the fish farmer to take action before many fish are harmed. © 2017
Pitcovski, J. ; Shahar, E. ; Cahaner, A. The influence of variation among replicates on repeatability; Stepping in the Same River Twice: Replication in Biological Research; 2017; pp. 139-153. Publisher's Version
Yair, R. ; Cahaner, A. ; Uni, Z. ; Shahar, R. Maternal and genetic effects on broiler bone properties during incubation period. Poultry science 2017, 96, 2301-2311. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In order to examine the differences in bone properties between fast-growing and slow-growing broiler embryos and to understand the effects of genotype and egg size on these differences, fast- and slow-growing hens and males were reciprocally crossed to create 4 egg groups: FST (laid by fast-growing hens, inseminated by fast-growing males), H-FST (fast-growing hens and slow-growing males), H-SLW (slow-growing hens and fast-growing males), and SLW (slow-growing hens and slow-growing males). Embryos (n = 8) from these 4 groups were sacrificed and weighed, and both tibiae were harvested on embryonic d (E) 17, 19, and 21. Left tibiae were tested for their whole-bone mechanical properties using a micromechanical device. Cortical bone structure and bone mineral density (BMD) were examined by micro-computed tomography of the left tibiae. Bone mineralization was evaluated by measuring BMD and ash content, while the rate and location of mineralization were evaluated by fluorochrome labeling. Osteoclastic activity and osteocyte density were evaluated by histological stains [TRAP (Tartrate resistant acid phosphatase) and H&E (Hematoxylin and Eosin), respectively]. Groups with larger eggs (FST and H-FST) had higher BW and tibia weight than groups with smaller eggs (SLW and H-SLW); however, they had a lower ratio of tibia weight to BW. Between groups with similar egg weight, stiffness, maximal load, and yield load of the bones were higher in the SLW than the H-SLW, while no differences were found between the FST and H-FST. Additionally, the tibiae of the SLW were stiffer and their osteocyte density higher than in the FST on E21 and their periosteal mineralization rate was higher between E19 and E21. No differences were found between the groups in cortical bone structure. This study demonstrates that faster growing hatchlings, especially those that hatch from relatively small eggs, have inferior bone mechanical properties in comparison to slower growing hatchlings, and suggests that fast-growing chicks hatching from small eggs are at a higher risk for developing bone pathologies. Accordingly, selection for increased egg size may lead to improved mechanical performance of the skeleton of fast-growing broilers. © 2017 Poultry Science Association Inc.