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ABSTRACT: A heifer co-twin to a bull, in most cases, is a sterile freemartin which needs to be identified and culled from replacement stock. Various methods are available for the diagnosis of freemartinism, but none is ideal in terms of speed, sensitivity, or specificity. The present study was thus conducted to develop and validate a satisfactory fluorescence in situ hybridization procedure on interphase nuclei (I-FISH) for identifying the bovine XX/XY-karyotypic chimerism, the hallmark of freemartinism. A 190-bp DNA FISH probe containing the bovine male-specific BC1.2 DNA sequence was synthesized and labeled with digoxigenin by PCR. The FISH was performed on metaphase spreads and interphase nuclei of blood lymphocytes. Upon FISH, the probe expectedly bound to the nucleus of the male cell or to a region of the p12 locus of the Y chromosome. Twenty-four young heterosexual twins (Holstein-Friesian and Korean Cattle breeds; 10 pairs and 4 singletons) were analyzed in the present study; all but three exhibited the XX/XY-karyotypic chimerism to varying extents in both I-FISH and karyotyping. One heifer was identified to have 100% XX cells by both analyses, whereas two bulls were judged as 100% XY- and XX/XY-chimeric karyotypes by karyotyping and I-FISH, respectively. Nevertheless, the ratios of the XY to XX cells in these animals were very similar between the two analyses. In conclusion, the present I-FISH was a rapid and reliable procedure that can be used for early-life diagnosis of bovine freemartinism.
Theriogenology 11/2007; 68(7):1003-11. · 2.08 Impact Factor