A Suitable Duplex PCR for Ovine Embryo Sex and Genotype ofPrnPGene Determination for MOET-Based Selection Programmes

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The objective of this study was to test the suitability of a duplex PCR assay for sex and scrapie resistance genotype determination in fresh embryos. Duplex PCR amplified a repetitive and specific fragment of Y chromosome, used for sex diagnosis, and a PrnP fragment. PrnP codons 134 and 156, and codon 171 were genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphisms and allele-specific PCR, respectively, after re-amplification of PrnP fragment. The specificity of the method was first assessed by testing 359 blood samples from Rasa Aragonesa sheep breed (161 males and 198 females). No amplification failures and total agreement between genotypic and phenotypic sex were found. In the same way, PrnP genotype determination by duplex PCR assay was in agreement with the PrnP animal’s genotype established by sequencing. Finally, 73 samples of 1–10 cells from compact morulae were aspirated through the zona pellucida and genotyped for sex and PrnP. The efficiency was 96% when three or more cells were sampled. These results confirm that the duplex PCR assay reported in this work can be used for rapid sex determination in ovine embryos, with a high efficiency and accuracy (96%) when three or more cells are sampled, allowing sexed fresh embryos of known PrnP genotype to be transferred in multiple ovulation and embryo transfer programmes.

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