Scientists developing new approach to screening carabao bull fertility

April 22, 2015 9:21 am 

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, April 21 (PNA) — As part of the government’s attempt to further improve carabao breeding efficiency in the country, researchers at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) are currently developing a novel, potentially more reliable, technique in determining the fertility of carabao sperm for use in artificial insemination (AI), one of the primary technologies used in carabao breeding.

Led by Dr. Eufrocina Atabay, the researchers are exploring a newly-discovered protein originally found in mice, phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ).

The PCC expert said that recent advances in animal fertilization technology have identified PLCζ as the major trigger in egg fertilization and the development of embryos in mammals.

PLCζ, which can only be found in sperm, has already seen some success in determining male fertility in humans.

Furthermore, experts said that it can easily be detected with the western blot technique, a well-established method for determining the presence of proteins in a biological sample.

Scientists involved in the undertaking said that the research is divided into two phases and targeted to be completed in 2016.

Atabay said the first phase deals with developing the procedure for detecting and characterizing buffalo PLCζ while the second phase aims to develop and subsequently utilize an anti-buffalo PLCζ antibody for screening the protein in buffalo sperm.

Antibodies are proteins that complement the structure of its protein pair, much like a keyhole to a key.

An anti-PLCζ antibody will make it even easier and more reliable to detect the protein PLCζ, thus identifying which bulls are more fertile for having higher content of PLZζ.

In a process called fertility indexing, better performing bull semen will be chosen as semen donor for calf production, Atabay said.

“There is potentially major impact towards overall increase in animal population, meat and milk production, and economic benefits for livestock raisers because of potential improvement in the success of AI following the use of semen from carabaos with known fertility,” she said.

The Department of Agriculture (DA), through its Biotechnology Program, is supporting the PCC research in line with its goals of improving livestock productivity and helping with the challenge of food security.

The study stands to benefit not only breeding programs for carabaos but also other livestock species as well.

According to the PCC, the study is already generating interest from breeding centers, livestock raisers and farmers being the biggest potential beneficiaries. (PNA)

SCS/CMR

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