Genetic markers associated to improving prolificacy of sheep. A review

Radena Nenova1, Ivona Dimitrova2, Nevyana Stancheva1, Milena Bozhilova-Sakova3, Todor Tzonev4 and Tanya Minkova1
1 Agricultural Academy, Agricultural Institute, Department of Animal Science, 9700 Shumen, Bulgaria
2 University of Forestry, Faculty of Agronomy, 1797 Sofia, Bulgaria
3 Agricultural Academy, Institute of Animal Science, 2232 Kostinbrod, Bulgaria
4 Agricultural Academy, Scientific Agriculture Center, 7700 Targovishte, Bulgaria


Nenova, R., Dimitrova, I., Stancheva, N., Bozhilova-Sakova, M., Tzonev, T., & Minkova, T. (2023). Genetic markers associated to improving prolificacy of sheep. A review. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci.,29 (2), 371–377

The application of molecular genetic markers in breeding programs is the basis for the future improvement of existing sheep breeds and preservation of genetic diversity in this animal species. This review aims to survey the literature on genetic markers suitable for inclusion in reproductive control in sheep and in particular to enhance the prolificacy of ewes. In different breeds of sheep, prolificacy can be regulated polygenically or by the action of a major segregating gene from the so-called fecundity genes (Fec). In this review, we focus on the main genes BMP15, GDF9 and BMPR1B belonging to the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily, as well as the gene B4GALNT2 affecting reproduction and in which polymorphisms associated with the emergence of the more prolific phenotype.

Keywords: sheep; reproduction; prolificacy; fecundity genes

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