A generalized Michaelis-Menten equation for the analysis of growth.

Journal of animal science

PubMedID: 10907823

López S, France J, Gerrits WJ, Dhanoa MS, Humphries DJ, Dijkstra J. A generalized Michaelis-Menten equation for the analysis of growth. J Anim Sci. 2000;78(7):1816-28.
The functional form W = (W0Kc + Wf t(c)) /(Kc + t(c)), where W is body size at age t, W0 and Wf are the zero- and infinite-time values of W, respectively, and K and c are constants, is derived. This new generalized Michaelis-Menten-type equation provides a flexible model for animal growth capable of describing sigmoidal and diminishing returns behavior. The parameters of the nonlinear model are open to biological interpretation and can be used to calculate reliable estimates of growth traits, such as maximum or average postnatal growth rates. To evaluate the new model, the derived equation and standard growth functions such as the Gompertz and Richards were used to fit 83 growth data sets of different animal species (fish, mice, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, cats, dogs, broilers, turkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and cattle) with a large range in body size. A comparative study was carried out based on mathematical, statistical, and biological characteristics of the models. The statistical goodness-of-fit achieved with the new model was similar to that of Richards, and both were slightly superior to the Gompertz. The new model differed from the others with respect to some of the estimated growth traits, but there were highly significant correlation coefficients between estimates obtained with the different models, and the ranking of animals based on growth parameters computed with the new function agreed with the rankings computed by the other models. Therefore, the new model, with its variable inflection point, was able to adequately describe growth in a wide variety of animals, to fit a range of data showing sigmoidal growth patterns, and to provide satisfactory estimates of traits for quantifying the growth characteristics of each type of animal.