Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetic testing to produce more offspring

Date:
January 9, 2014
Source:
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Summary:
A small anomaly with massive consequences: Researchers have discovered a genetic defect that makes breeding bulls infertile. To verify the mutation, researchers used the very latest gene sequencing techniques. Tests can now determine whether an animal is suitable for breeding or not.

In the spotlight: The TMEM95 protein (green) on the sperm heads of bulls. Without this protein, the animals are infertile.
Credit: S. K๖lle/LMU

The Fleckvieh is a breed of cattle that originated in the Alpine region. A robust animal, it is now found on every continent, with an estimated worldwide population of around 40 million.

Related Articles


In Germany, there are approximately 1 million Fleckvieh dairy cows: "Their genomes can be traced back to a small number of key ancestors," explains Prof. Ruedi Fries, Chair of Animal Breeding at TUM. "With artificial insemination, male breeding animals can produce more than one hundred thousand offspring."

Infertility caused by a single gene

This practice is fraught with risk, however: If the genetic make-up of any animal contains an unidentified defect, this characteristic will be passed on to future generations. TUM researchers have now discovered that a mutation in the TMEM95 gene on cattle chromosome 19 makes bulls effectively infertile, with a success rate for insemination of less than 2 percent.

"Otherwise, the animals are perfectly healthy and normal," points out Dr. Hubert Pausch, lead author of the study. "The characteristic only manifests itself if bulls inherit the mutation from both the male and female side, i.e. they are homozygous for the defective gene. It is only in this case that the animals should be excluded from breeding." Routine genetic testing for all breeding bulls has been underway since August 2012.

Findings of interest for human medicine

As part of their study, the researchers compared the genome of 40 subfertile animals with 8,000 breeding bulls with normal fertility levels. They discovered that the genetic defect can be traced back to one Fleckvieh animal born in 1966.

The TMEM95 gene encodes a protein on the surface of the sperm heads. The protein probably mediates the binding process between the sperm and egg cells. If it is missing, fertilization will not occur.

"Our findings indicate that genetic defects in TMEM95 could also cause infertility in men," elaborates Pausch. During their investigation of the sperm of infertile breeding bulls, the TUM scientists collaborated with Prof. Sabine K๖lle and Dr. Matthias Trottmann from Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University. Trottmann helps couples with infertility problems.

Genetic analysis for healthier animals

Scientists have been systematically studying the cattle genome since 2009. Unlike in humans, a small number of loci explain a large proportion of characteristics. "This allows the genetic profile of breeding bulls to be mapped in detail -- and individual weaknesses can be taken into account for breeding," says Pausch.

Fries adds: "Genetic analysis highlights the undesirable characteristics and also the diseases that animals pass on. With this knowledge we can not only improve yield and quality but also improve animal health by identifying pathogenic gene variants and ensuring that they are not passed on to future animals." One example is a genetic defect which causes a blood clotting malfunction in the homozygous state.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hubert Pausch, Sabine K๖lle, Christine Wurmser, Hermann Schwarzenbacher, Reiner Emmerling, Sandra Jansen, Matthias Trottmann, Christian Fuerst, Kay-Uwe G๖tz, Ruedi Fries. A Nonsense Mutation in TMEM95 Encoding a Nondescript Transmembrane Protein Causes Idiopathic Male Subfertility in Cattle. PLoS Genetics, 2014; 10 (1): e1004044 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004044

Cite This Page:

Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Genetic testing to produce more offspring." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109132428.htm>.
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. (2014, January 9). Genetic testing to produce more offspring. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109132428.htm
Technische Universitaet Muenchen. "Genetic testing to produce more offspring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140109132428.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) — A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) — Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins