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Sex control by Zfy siRNA in the dairy cattle

Xi, Ji-feng, Wang, Xiang-zu, Zhang, Yong-sheng, Jia, Bin, Li, Chao-cheng, Wang, Xu-hai, Ying, Rui-wen
Animal reproduction science 2019 v.200 pp. 1-6
Y chromosome, artificial insemination, breeding season, bulls, calves, cows, dairy cattle, farms, freezing, genes, genetic vectors, progeny, semen, sex determination, small interfering RNA, sperm motility, spermatogenesis, spermatozoa, testes
Zinc-finger Y is located in the short arm of the Y-chromosome and is a highly conserved gene that plays an important role in spermatogenesis. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of silencing the Zfy gene during spermatogenesis on Y-sperm formation and offspring sex determination in Bos taurus cattle. Three recombinant expression vectors pLL3.7/a, pLL3.7/b and pLL3.7/c were evaluated and only pLL3.7/a effectively silenced the Zfy gene. The pLL3.7/a recombinant expression vector was injected into bull testes, using three injections. Semen was collected and preserved by extending and freezing. The frozen semen was subsequently used in artificial insemination of cows during a breeding season in accordance with the production plan on the farm where the experiment was conducted. Results showed that, after exposure to pLL3.7/a, sperm motility decreased (P < 0.01), but the sperm density was similar (p > 0.05) to the non-treated control semen. Injection of pLL3.7/a resulted in 72.0% female offspring, and was greater than the 49.4% female calves in the control (P < 0.01), Results from this research suggests that the Zfy gene plays a role in the process of Y-sperm formation, and Zfy siRNA is a potential useful approach to control sex of offspring in cattle.