Supervisors: Albert Tenesa, Tiffany Wood. Vicent Martinez (Dyneval)
Sex-sorting sperm is typically used in cattle breeding. However, it is estimated that calving rates are reduced by 24% when using sex-sorted sperm. Increasing sperm dosage of sex-sorting increases pregnancy rates only marginally (around 7%). This creates an economic burden to breeders and farmers, however it is not possible to improve the situation without understanding the causes of the poor performance of sexed-semen. This project aims to identify some of these causes and identify potential solutions to improve pregnancy and calving rates.
We hypothesise that epigenetic changes during the sorting process indude epigenetic changes that reduce the fitness of the sperm. To test that we will collect frozen semen from 84 high merit Viking bulls (32 red, 17 holstein, 18 jersey and 17 beef). We will profile semen fitness using the Dynescan technology (% progressive motility and mean swim speed) for sexed an unsexed semen these 84 bulls. We will then use methylation arrays we have developed in collaboration with the RUMIGEN consortium, Illumina and previous BBSRC funding to correlate methylation levels changes with the fitness of sex and unsexed semen.
Funding information and application procedures:
This 3.5 year studentship opportunity is open to UK and international students and provides funding to cover stipend, tuition fees and consumable/travel costs.
Application form can be downloaded via https://www.ed.ac.uk/sites/default/files/atoms/files/rdsvs_gaffs_roslin_foundation_studentship_application_form_2024-25.doc
Please send your completed Application Form to [Email Address Removed]
If you are applying for more than one studentship please submit a separate application with a closing date of noon on 8th January 2024 at https://www.ed.ac.uk/roslin/work-study/opportunities/studentships