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      Differences in the rumen methanogen populations of lactating Jersey and Holstein dairy cows under the same diet regimen.

      Applied and Environmental Microbiology

      Species Specificity, microbiology, Rumen, genetics, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S, Phylogeny, Molecular Sequence Data, growth & development, classification, Methanobrevibacter, metabolism, Methane, Lactation, Gene Library, Female, DNA, Bacterial, Computers, Molecular, Cattle, Biota, Bacterial Typing Techniques, Animals, Animal Feed

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          Abstract

          In the dairy cattle industry, Holstein and Jersey are the breeds most commonly used for production. They differ in performance by various traits, such as body size, milk production, and milk composition. With increased concerns about the impact of agriculture on climate change, potential differences in other traits, such as methane emission, also need to be characterized further. Since methane is produced in the rumen by methanogenic archaea, we investigated whether the population structure of methanogen communities would differ between Holsteins and Jerseys. Breed-specific rumen methanogen 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed from pooled PCR products obtained from lactating Holstein and Jersey cows, generating 180 and 185 clones, respectively. The combined 365 sequences were assigned to 55 species-level operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Twenty OTUs, representing 85% of the combined library sequences, were common to both breeds, while 23 OTUs (36 sequences) were found only in the Holstein library and 12 OTUs (18 sequences) were found only in the Jersey library, highlighting increased diversity in the Holstein library. Other differences included the observation that sequences with species-like sequence identity to Methanobrevibacter millerae were represented more highly in the Jersey breed, while Methanosphaera-related sequences and novel uncultured methanogen clones were more frequent in the Holstein library. In contrast, OTU sequences with species-level sequence identity to Methanobrevibacter ruminantium were represented similarly in both libraries. Since the sampled animals were from a single herd consisting of two breeds which were fed the same diet and maintained under the same environmental conditions, the differences we observed may be due to differences in host breed genetics.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          10.1128/AEM.05130-11
          3165256
          21705541

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