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Reproduction. 2003 Sep;126(3):317-25.

Fluorescence in situ hybridization in diluted and flow cytometrically sorted boar spermatozoa using specific DNA direct probes labelled by nick translation.

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  • 1Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, University of Murcia, 30071 Murcia, Spain.


Successful evaluation of X- and Y-chromosome-bearing sperm separation technology using flow cytometry-cell sorter is of great importance. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), which allows for the detection of specific nucleic acid sequences on morphologically preserved spermatozoa, is an ideal method for quantitatively and qualitatively assessing the purity of sorted sperm samples. In this study specific pig DNA direct probes for small regions of chromosomes 1 and Y were used. Chromosome 1 was labelled in green and used as internal control to detect a lack of hybridization, whereas chromosome Y was labelled in red. Nick translation was used as the labelling method for the preparation of these probes. Spermatozoa, unsorted and sorted for high and low Y-chromosome purity from ejaculates of five boars, were fixed on slides and two-colour direct FISH was performed for chromosomes 1 and Y. About 500 non-sorted and 200 sorted spermatozoa per sample were scored. The proportion of Y-chromosome-bearing spermatozoa was determined by the presence of a red fluorescent signal on the sperm head and the proportion of X-chromosome-bearing spermatozoa was determined by subtraction. The efficiency of the hybridization procedure was established as near 98% on sorted and unsorted samples. The results of this study confirm that direct FISH using specific pig DNA probes labelled by nick translation provides a useful tool for laboratory validation of sperm separation by flow sorting technology. Moreover, the ease of nick translation and the quality of the fluorescent signal obtained using this method makes this procedure the most appropriate method for labelling pig DNA probes to be used for direct FISH on pig spermatozoa.

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