Characterization of breed specific differences in spermatozoal transcriptomes of sheep in australia

Marnie Hodge, Sara Las Heras-Saldana De, Sally J. Rindfleish, Cyril P. Stephen, Sameer D. Pant

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Abstract

Reduced reproductive efficiency results in economic losses to the Australian sheep industry. Reproductive success, particularly after artificial insemination, is dependent on a number of contributing factors on both ewe and ram sides. Despite considerable emphasis placed on characterising ewe side contributions, little emphasis has been placed on characterising ram side contributions to conception success. Over 14,000 transcripts are in spermatozoa of other species, which are transferred to the ova on fertilisation. These transcripts conceivably influence early embryonic development and whether conception is successful. Semen was collected (n = 45) across three breeds; Merino, Dohne, and Poll Dorset. Following collection, each ejaculate was split in two; an aliquot was assessed utilising Computer Assisted Semen Analysis (CASA) and the remaining was utilised for RNA extraction and subsequent next-generation sequencing. Overall, 754 differentially expressed genes were identified in breed contrasts and contrast between ejaculates of different quality. Downstream analysis indicated that these genes could play significant roles in a broad range of physiological functions, including maintenance of spermatogenesis, fertilisation, conception, embryonic development, and offspring production performance. Overall results provide evidence that the spermatozoal transcriptome could be a crucial contributing factor in improving reproductive performance as well as in the overall productivity and profitability of sheep industries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number203
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalGenes
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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