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Prof. Delgadillo on new and non-pharmaceutical ways for controlling out-of-season reproduction in agricultural species

Published: 2018-03-26

In January 2018’s blog post, we announced that this year’s posts will be devoted to showcasing scientific achievements in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. This month we turn to Prof José Alberto Delgadillo, a three-time IFS grantee and current scientific advisor to IFS, who is a researcher at the Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro in Mexico. In his post about goat reproduction research, Prof Delgadillo writes that his team’s “results open new and non-pharmaceutical ways for controlling out-of-season reproduction in agricultural species.” We hope you enjoy this feature of our website.

 

The main focus of my research is the physiology of goat reproduction and the development of natural methods to control reproduction of goats managed under extensive grazing conditions in subtropical latitudes. From my research perspective, a recent important scientific achievement was the prevention of the anovulatory seasonal period in goats. In fact, female goats display a well-defined season of sexual rest controlled mainly by photoperiod during spring and summer, their “anestrous season”. Male goats also decrease sexual activity at about the same time.

Prof. José Alberto Delgadillo

Prof. José Alberto Delgadillo

Therefore, this anestrous season provokes the seasonality of milk and meat production. Socio-sexual stimuli play only secondary roles. Interestingly, the continuous presence of males (rendered sexually active out-of-season by exposure to long days) prevents goats from displaying seasonal anestrus. Therefore, our research results show that female goats can bypass the seasonal inhibition of reproduction if they can mate with a sexually active male. This capacity of the male to override the control of female sexual behaviour by photoperiod generates new questions for research not only in goats and sheep but also in all species in which photoperiod is recognised as the main factor controlling seasonality of reproduction. Our results open new and non-pharmaceutical ways for controlling out-of-season reproduction in agricultural species.

Another colleague from my region who is a science leader is Horacio Hernández, also at the Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro. His research with goats focuses on the relationships between mothers and kids, the physiology of lactation, and the interactions among milk production, nutrition and photoperiod. He published interesting results about the increase of productivity of goats kept under extensive management production systems. In fact, he showed that nutritional supplementation at the end of pregnancy increases the live weight of kids and reduces their mortality. In addition, exposure of goats to artificially long days increased milk production. All of these results improve the productivity of goat herds.

Horacio Hernández

Horacio Hernández determining concentrations of protein and milk fat from goats exposed to artificially long days

I anticipate that in a few years we will develop simple, low-cost and sustainable tools to control reproduction of both male and female goats kept in extensive grazing conditions and to increase milk production. In fact, the combination of photoperiod, nutrition and socio-sexual interaction will improve the productivity of goat herds.

Nighisty Ghezae, IFS Director

Thank you. Hope you enjoyed this feature and keep an eye out for our next blog.                                                                                                                                              Dr. Nighisty Ghezae, IFS Director

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