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The amelogenin (AMEL) gene exists on both sex chromosomes of various mammalian species and the length and sequence of the noncoding regions differ between the two chromosome-specific alleles. Because both forms can be amplified using a single primer set, the use of AMEL in polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods has facilitated sex identification in various mammalian species, including cattle, sheep and humans. In this study, we designed PCR primers to yield different-sized products from the AMEL genes on the X (AMELX) and Y (AMELY) chromosomes of pigs. PCR amplification of genomic DNA samples collected from various breeds of pigs (European breeds: Landrace, Large White, Duroc and Berkshire; Chinese breeds: Meishan and Jinhua and their crossbreeds) yielded the expected products. For all breeds, DNA from male pigs produced two bands (520 and 350 bp; AMELX and AMELY, respectively), whereas samples from female pigs generated only the 520 bp product. We then tested the use of PCR of AMEL for sex identification of in vitro-produced (IVP) porcine embryos sampled at 2 or 5 to 6 days after fertilization; germinal vesicle (GV)-stage oocytes and electroactivated embryos were used as controls. More than 88% of the GV-stage oocytes and electroactivated embryos yielded a single 520 bp single band and about 50% of the IVP embryos tested produced both bands. Our findings show that PCR analysis of the AMEL gene is reliable for sex identification of pigs and porcine embryos.
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