Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Research Article Open Access

Polymorphisms of the melatonin receptor 1A (MTNR1A) gene do not affect sexual activity, plasma testosterone concentrations or testicular characteristics of 8-month-old ram-lambs born in autumn

José-Alfonso Abecia, Adriana Casao, Francisco Canto, Maria Consuelo Mura, Sebastiano Luridiana, Melissa Carvajal-Serna, Rosaura Pérez-Pe, Vincenzo Carcangiu

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Thirty-nine autumn-born ram-lambs were used to study whether polymorphisms of the melatonin receptor 1A (MTNR1A) gene influence some reproductive parameters of Oct-born ram-lambs at 8 months of age. Animals were genotyped for their RsaI (CC, n=24; CT, n=6; TT, n=9) and MnlI (GG, n=27; GA, n=6; AA, n=6) allelic variants of the MTNR1A gene. Liveweight (LW) was recorded bi-weekly until Jun, and scrotal perimeter (SP) was recorded once per month. From mid-Jan, blood samples were collected weekly to measure plasma testosterone concentrations. In mid-Jun, individual serving-capacity tests were performed. Testicular ultrasonography was performed at the end of the experiment. The effects of the week and gene polymorphism on LW, scrotal perimeter, and plasma testosterone concentrations were evaluated statistically by the GLM for repeated measures procedure. LW, SP, and plasma testosterone concentrations were significantly (P<0.001) affected by week, but neither of the polymorphisms of the melatonin receptor 1A (MTNR1A) gene affected these variables. In the serving tests, genotypes did not differ significantly in individual behaviors or the number of events (CC: 24.1±3.2, CT: 26.3±13.0, TT: 16.8±4.8, GG: 22.0±3.0, GA: 21.0±6.7, AA: 27.8±12.7). Testicular features assessed by ultrasonography did not differ significantly among genotypes. In conclusion, the polymorphisms of the melatonin receptor 1A (MTNR1A) gene did not have an effect on the reproductive characteristics of autumn-born ram lambs, based on serving capacity tests, testosterone secretion, and testicular measurements at 8 months of age.


gene, melatonin, polymorphism, sheep


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