Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science Supplement
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/5/2012
Publication Date: 7/1/2012
Citation: Eborn, D.R., McDaneld, T.G., Thallman, R.M., Echternkamp, S.E. 2012. Fetal to maternal transplacental DNA transfer in female beef cattle [abstract]. Journal of Animal Science. 90 (Supplement 3):323 (Abstract #T199).
Technical Abstract: Exchange of DNA between mother and fetus has been well documented in humans but only limited reports exist for beef cattle. Our objective was to determine if we could detect male fetal DNA in the maternal blood after parturition. Whole blood was collected within 48 h after parturition from multiparous (n = 48) and primiparous (n = 54) bovine females having single (n = 75) or twin (n = 27) births. Real-time PCR analysis was performed on genomic DNA, extracted from the blood sample, using male-specific primers that target the Y chromosome. Male genomic DNA isolated from whole blood was also included in each assay as a positive control. No dams (n = 30) giving birth to only female offspring were positive for the Y PCR test. However, of the dams that gave birth to a male calf (n = 72), a total of 9 were positive for the Y PCR test. Common characteristics of those 9 females included 8 primiparous and 1 multiparous (second parturition) dams that birthed either a single male calf (n = 4) or twins (n =5) that included at least 1 male. In addition, 3 of the 4 single male births experienced dystocia requiring assistance with a calf jack, and the positive multiparous dam gave birth to a set of twins (1 male, 1 female) that were dead at birth due to dystocia. Samples that were positive for the Y PCR test were reassayed with the same primers as well as with additional Y-specific primers obtained from a bovine SNP beadchip assay to confirm results. Six of the 9 females that were positive for the original Y-PCR test were also positive for the additional Y SNP PCR tests. Results indicate that DNA can be transferred from the fetus to the dam and that it may be more likely to occur in younger females experiencing trauma at calving such as dystocia or birth of twins.