Gene variant detected in 20 out of 100 Karayaka sheep breeds, says Kirsehir Ahi Evran University fellow
A mutation in a gene, which is responsible for delivering multiple lambs in a single birth, was detected for the first time in a local sheep breed in central Turkey.
Koray Kirikci, an agriculture professor at Kirsehir Ahi Evran University, told Anadolu Agency that they launched a research project four years ago to study the variants of the gene.
As part of the project, blood samples were taken from the Karayaka sheep breed found in Samsun, Ordu, Tokat, and Giresun provinces of the Black Sea region.
Through this study, Kirikci detected a mutation on the GDF9 gene, which has an effect on multiple births, and uncovered mutant allele for the first time for the Karayaka breed.
The study was sent to the US-based National Center for Biotechnology Information, where the discovery of the mutant allele was documented as the work of a Turkish scientist.
Referring to Turkey’s goal of increasing the number of sheep and goat breeding as much as the human population by 2023, Kirikci said he aims to contribute genetically to traditional breeding studies by using molecular techniques to increase the number of lambs to be born per sheep.
He praised Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Iran, and Spain’s research on multiple births while noting that the research would be an inspiration for genetic studies and breeding in different genotypes of such mutant gene variants studied in Turkey.
“In studies conducted on culture breed sheep, 120 lambs are obtained from 100 sheep in normal herds. In herds with mutant allele, 180 lambs are obtained from 100 sheep.
“The result is important for our country. We have detected the mutant variation for the first time. This allele was detected in 20 out of 100 sheep,” he said.