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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Nutrient fluctuations during the fetal stage affects fetal development, which has long-term impacts on the production efficiency and quality of meat. During the early development, a pool of mesenchymal progenitor cells proliferate and then diverge into either myogenic or adipogenic/fibrogenic lineages. Myogenic progenitor cells further develop into muscle fibers and satellite cells, while adipogenic/fibrogenic lineage cells develop into adipocytes, fibroblasts and resident fibro-adipogenic progenitor cells. Enhancing the proliferation and myogenic commitment of progenitor cells during fetal development enhances muscle growth and lean production in offspring. On the other hand, promoting the adipogenic differentiation of adipogenic/fibrogenic progenitor cells inside the muscle increases intramuscular adipocytes and reduces connective tissue, which improves meat marbling and tenderness. Available studies in mammalian livestock, including cattle, sheep and pigs, clearly show the link between maternal nutrition and the quantity and quality of meat production. Similarly, chicken muscle fibers develop before hatching and, thus, egg and yolk sizes and hatching temperature affect long-term growth performance and meat production of chicken. On the contrary, because fishes are able to generate new muscle fibers lifelong, the impact of early nutrition on fish growth performance is expected to be minor, which requires further studies.

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Meat Science

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