X chromosome inactivation studies in the Swiss Eringer breed

Veterinarni Medicina 45, 2000, 304-307

Investigations were carried out on cows of the Eringer breed because of their cowfighting behaviour. The observable interest in fighting between female animals is an integral element in the genetical diversity of the breed. It is known that the phenotype of female Eringer animals is masculine and that the fighting desire is also a characteristic feature of this breed when compared to other breeds. Cytogenetic examinations we carried out on Eringer cattle. Short term cultures from lymphocytes and long term cultures from fibroblasts were made. The metaphases prepared from the cell cultures, were banded and the karyograms were compared to the international standard. Special attention was given to the X chromosomes. In mammals the X chromosome is of special importance because of its variable genetic activity. Only one of the two X chromosomes is active in the somatic cells of females. The inactivated X chromosome could be identified due to a different R-banding structure. The differences between the active and the inactive X chromosomes between different animals were astonishingly clear and no artefacts were visible. This would indicate a varying activity of both X chromosomes despite their partial activation and inactivation. A phenotypical and behaviour specific variation in this breed may be related to the different inactivation effects

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