A team of researchers from Michigan State University led by George Smith, associate professor of animal science, has discovered that the new egg-specific gene, JY-1, is necessary for embryonic development in dairy cows. The research is reported in the Oct. 29 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Besides potentially offering the dairy industry more solutions for the infertility problem that costs it more than $1 billion per year, the new gene provides clues into the egg's role in embryo development and may ultimately provide new options for the more than 9.3 million women treated annually for fertility problems.
According to Smith, cows are a better model for human fertility research than the standard mouse model. Like women, cows usually release a single egg and give birth to one offspring at a time. Mice, in contrast, release multiple eggs and give birth to litters of pups.
"Our research focus is infertility in dairy cows," said Smith. "We want to understand the role of egg quality in infertility and create new solutions for dairy producers to manage their biggest problem. But there could certainly be human implications."
Smith and his team, which includes former students Anilkumar Bettegowda, a PhD student in Smith’s lab, and Jianbo Yao, a fellow in the MSU Center for Animal Functional Genomics, know the bovine chromosome where the JY-1 gene is located. A similar gene is located on the matching chromosome in humans but does not appear to be functional.
"There may be other related genes in humans that perform the same function as JY-1," Smith said. "We know this gene is necessary for cow embryos to develop, so it makes sense that humans have a related gene with a similar function."
Infertility and other reproductive problems are one of the dairy industry's biggest concerns. Dairy cows must become pregnant to produce milk. So if a cow can't get pregnant or can't maintain a pregnancy, the farmer suffers not only the loss of the milk, but the loss of the animal and the cost of replacing her.
"We now know the JY-1 gene is required for embryo development in dairy cows," Smith said. "Our next steps are to determine how the gene is regulated and how different levels of the protein affect fertility. There are still a lot of unknowns, but this is the first piece of the puzzle."
George Smith | EurekAlert!
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
05.12.2016 | Life Sciences