Sunday, 12 January 2014

Genetic Testing to Produce More Offspring

Jan. 9, 2014 — 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.

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.

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