Date of Award

5-1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Abstract

The purpose of this experiment was to determine if the estrogen receptor gene (ESR) could be used as a genetic marker for litter size in sheep. The estrogen receptor gene was chosen because it has been successfully used as a genetic marker for litter size in swine. In this study, DNA dilutions from two experimental flocks, totaling approximately 200 animals, were used. Amplification of exon 1/intron 1 of the ESR gene was performed using PCR. Initial results indicated a polymorphism in the gene when cut with the restriction enzyme Ava ll. It appeared that the gene contained a deletion with the high-producing animals being heterozygous and the low-producing animals being homozygous for the deletion-containing fragment. However, when the gene was amplified with different primers and the protocol was changed to a hot start PCR, the initial difference was lost and all animals showed identical bands regardless of average litter size. A final screen of both flocks revealed no difference in the Ava ll restriction pattern of exon 1 in ESR. Thus, a genetic marker for litter size in sheep could not be identified in the ESR gene using the current protocol.

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