Sex Determination of Porcine Preimplantation Embryos via Y-Chromosome Specific DNA Sequences

C. J. Fajfar-Whetstone, M. B. Wheeler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sex of preimplantation porcine embryos was determined by DNA amplification using porcine male(Y chromosome)-specific DNA primers in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In order to determine the sensitivity of this sexing method, single porcine embryos ranging from unfertilized ova to the blastocyst stage were amplified in the PCR using the Y-specific primers, and analyzed by ethidium bromide-staining of polyacrylamide gels. The 192 bp product which denotes the presence of the Y chromosome was seen in the embryos. The unfertilized ova which is of female origin gave no product. These results are representative of PCR analysis of a total of 34 swine embryos. Results obtained using the PCR for sexing were validated by karyotyping and confirmed by in situ hybridization with the porcine Y-chromosome-specific probe. In order to confirm the sex of the embryos determined by PCR, 10 day-old porcine preimplantation embryos were biopsied to produce a small number of cells for sex determination via PCR, while the remainder of the embryo was prepared for in situ hybridization using the biotinylated probe. In situ hybridization performed on embryos shown to be male by PCR, showed pinpoint fluorescence within the nuclei, similar to that obtained when male porcine lymphocytes were hybridized. No evidence of fluorescence was seen when in situ hybridization was performed in parallel on embryos determined to be female by the PCR. The PCR was found to be a relatively fast, accurate and reproducible means of sex determination of swine preimplantation embryos. This capability could have significant impact on animal breeding and production programs by using PCR as a screening tool for traits of economic importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-193
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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