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Ewes carrying the Booroola and Vacaria prolificacy alleles respond differently to ovulation induction with equine chorionic gonadotrophin

Author(s): J.C.F. Moraes and C.J.H. Souza

The magnitude of ovulation rate (OR) after hormonal induction in sheep should be considered when prolific genotypes are used. We investigated for the first time the effect of the Vacaria allele and its combined effect with the Booroola prolificacy mutation on OR after hormonal treatment during breeding and anoestrous season. A hundred forty-nine Ile de France crossbred ewes, raised in natural pastures in South Brazil, were used to evaluate the OR after treatment with progestagen (MAP) followed or not by equine chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG) treatment (MAP + eCG). During the breeding season, 96% MAP-treated ewes ovulated in comparison to 97% of MAP + eCG-treated females. The double heterozygous carriers (BNVN) presented the higher OR, followed by the single Vacaria (NNVN) and Booroola (BNNN) heterozygous females and least the wild-type (NNNN) ewes. During anoestrus, 96% eCG-treated ewes ovulated, in contrast to 6% treated with MAP alone. The OR of the gonadotrophin-treated females was higher in BNVN and BNNN than NNVN and NNNN ewes. An additive effect in the OR of the two mutations was observed since OR in double heterozygous ewes was similar to the sum of the effects of the alleles of the single heterozygous carrier ewes.