Navigation Links
Diet prior to pregnancy determines sheep's gender

Maternal diet influences the chances of having male or female offspring. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology has demonstrated that ewes fed a diet enriched with polyunsaturated fats for one month prior to conception have a significantly higher chance of giving birth to male offspring.

This study was carried out by a team of researchers from the Division of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri and led by R Michael Roberts. Roberts explains how diet at the time of conception is the most important factor when it comes to influencing the sex of the offspring "Our study ruled out body condition, ewe weight, previous births, time of breeding, and likely dominance as reasons for the gender skewing. Rather, it was the composition of the diet consumed in the time period around conception that was responsible for this sex-ratio effect".

Polyunsaturated fats are essential nutrients. It is believed that the dietary ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fats has important biological effects, especially in terms of inflammation, immunity and central nervous system signalling. The omega-6 fats used in this study were protected from digestion by naturally occurring rumen bacteria to ensure that they would be absorbed through the intestines of the sheep.

In animal social groups where a small number of dominant males mate with a large number of females, it has been theorised that having male offspring would be of genetic advantage to a very healthy, well fed female, while females consuming a poorer diet would have greater genetic success by giving birth to female offspring. According to Roberts "Although this theory is attractive, former observations have often been contradictory, leading some to dismiss its relevance. This is the first experimental study in controlled conditions showing that supplementing maternal diet, in this case by increasing omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake, can skew the sex ratio towards males in a farm species."

These findings will be important to the livestock industry. As Roberts points out "Increasing the amount of fat in feed during the breeding period could provide a means of controlling the sex ratio of offspring born to a herd or flock."


Contact: Graeme Baldwin
BioMed Central

Related biology news :

1. Argonne-SRNL agreement supports critical DOE, national priorities
2. Scientists endure Arctic for last campaign prior to CryoSat-2 launch
3. New research offers prioritization plan for reducing nutrient pollution in feeder streams
4. A new analysis method allows to find out the sex of the baby from the second month of pregnancy
5. A new gene trigger for pregnancy disorder identified
6. Pregnancy is possible after cancer treatment
7. Exercise during pregnancy leads to a healthier heart in moms- and babies-to-be
8. Herpes virus link to complications in pregnancy
9. Life on Mars pregnancy test successfully launched
10. Low vitamin D during pregnancy linked to pre-eclampsia
11. Drug could improve pregnancy outcomes in wider range of women with insulin resistance
Post Your Comments:
(Date:7/20/2017)... DAL ) customers now can use fingerprints instead of their ... (DCA). ... launches biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in May at ... process to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled in CLEAR ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several ... dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking ... During the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they ... industries. France is ... with a 30 percent increase in the number of startups ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... , May 16, 2017   Bridge ... health organizations, and MD EMR Systems , ... development partner for GE, have established a partnership ... Portal product and the GE Centricity™ products, including ... EMR. These new integrations will ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests ... the lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger ... startup Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For ... has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled ... Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The ... prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical ... during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 ... ... on October 5, 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® ... gold standard, video EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface ...
Breaking Biology Technology: