Document Type : Original Article


1 ICAR-NIANP, Bengaluru

2 Department of Animal Production, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria.


The effect of dietary calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) supplementation on serum biochemical parameters, steroid hormones, gene expression, and the sex ratio of offspring was investigated in female New Zealand white rabbits. A total of 25 rabbits were allocated into five treatment groups; the control group was fed with regular pellet feed, whereas the diets of the treatment groups were supplemented with different concentrations of Ca and Mg; T1 (0.4% and 0.01%), T2 (0.6% and 0.02%), T3 (0.8% and 0.03%), and T4 (1.0% and 0.04%), respectively. The rabbits were subjected to three breeding cycles. The T3 group produced more females (65.33%) from all three breeding. There were elevated Ca concentrations in T3 (15.26±0.77mgdL-1) and T4 (15.61±0.82mgdL-1) groups compared with the control. The concentration of estradiol was higher in T3 (311.54±13.45pgmL-1), and T4 (349.00±13.10pg mL-1) groups at 0.5days post-coitus (dpc) and T2 (410.08±6.63pgmL-1), T3 (468.75±15.99pgmL-1), and T4 (437.22 ± 12.41pgmL-1) groups at 21dpc. Testosterone was high in T4 (2.72±0.19ngmL-1) group at 0.5dpc and T2 (3.53±0.11ngmL-1) and T4 (3.61±0.17ngmL-1) group at 21dpc. The expression of 13 genes was studied in the oviduct. Genes such as OVGP1, CCT4, ANXA2, and TLR4 were several folds up-regulated and positively correlated with the female sex ratio. The molecular functions and pathways of up-regulated genes were suggestive of their role in fertilization such as sperm selection, sperm storage, immune regulation, implantation, and early embryonic development. The study deduced that variations in the serum electrolytes, steroid hormones, and gene expression might have an impact on the skewing process.