COLLEGE STATION, Aug. 26, 2010 Subfertility of breeding stallions meaning the horses are less able to sire foals is a well-recognized problem that has caused multi-million-dollar losses in the equine industry, experts say. Texas A&M researchers believe they are making progress in solving the problem by using an approach that might provide tools and resources necessary to study subfertility without causing stallions the angst of providing testicular samples for testing.
They have developed protocols to isolate RNAwhich carries the information of genes in DNA from stallion sperm and testis biopsies so that genetic factors associated with this condition can be identified.
Researchers from the Departments of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS) and Large Animal Clinical Sciences had their results published online in the journal Theriogenology. The leading author of the published research is Dr. Terje Raudsepp, an assistant professor from VIBS, and the first author is Dr. Pranab J. Das, a postdoctoral research assistant from the same department.
The RNA isolation technique from stallion sperm is believed to lead to the discovery of fertility biomarkers that could improve breeding procedures and raise thoroughbred race horses.
"Because of the structure of horse breeding, where one stallion covers many mares, the economy of the breeding industry is more sensitive to the fertility of the stallion than the mare," Das says.
"During past decades, several organized studies have been conducted to understand the role of various environmental, behavioral and physiological factors affecting fertility in horses," adds Raudsepp, the project leader. "However, very little is known about the genetic factors associated with stallion fertility, and genetic factors of male fertility involve the interplay of hundreds of genes."
Obtaining testis tissue by surgery could harm the horse, so the research team studied an alternative RNA isolation from sper
|Contact: Keith Randall|
Texas A&M University