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J Anim Sci. 1995 May;73(5):1408-15.

Sex identification in mammals with polymerase chain reaction and its use to examine sex effects on diameter of day-10 or -11 pig embryos.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078, USA.


The objectives of this study were to develop a rapid method for sex determination for several mammalian species using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and to use this method to determine whether there is a significant developmental difference in spherical diameter between male and female d-10 or -11 porcine embryos. The PCR system was developed and verified using genomic DNA from pigs of known sex, then it was tested with genomic DNA from several other mammalian species. Sex is determined by amplification of two genes in a single reaction. The presence or absence of a region of the Sry (sex-determining region Y) gene determines sex, and amplification of the Zfy (male) or Zfx (female) genes acts as a positive control for PCR. Sex determination was successful for all animals tested, including pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, horses, humans, baboons, dogs, cats, rats, and mice. A total of 209 embryos were collected from 21 crossbred gilts on d 10 or 11 of gestation, and their diameters were measured. No significant difference in embryo diameter was detected between male and female embryos, indicating that sexual dimorphism in embryonic growth in pigs does not occur before the period of rapid embryo elongation. The present sexing technique using PCR is rapid (approximately 6 h from receipt of embryos to results), and it may be useful for examining the effects of sex on any trait of interest in early porcine embryos and embryos from several other mammals.

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