Document Type : Original Article
EMBRYOLOGY DEPARTEMTN, ROYAN INSTITUTE, TEHRAN, IRAN
Introduction: Cloning an individual by transferring somatic nuclei into enucleated recipient oocytes has already been well established. This technology also offers new opportunities to restore threatened species with interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). However, few mammalian species have been studied for their reproductive biology whereas huge differences have been observed between these species. This study evaluated the similarities and genetical relationship of germ lines and the reproductive biology between domestic (Ovis aries) and threatened wild sheep (Ovis orientalis isphahanica).
Material and Methods: six populations of wild and domestic sheep were sampled and analyzed for chromosome number, interbreeding capability and fecundity. Resulted hybrids (male or female) were investigated for survival, karyotyping and fertility.
Results: Both the domestic and wild sheep uniformly exhibited a 2N of 54 and were able to crossbreed and induce sustainable pregnancy into the counterpart species. The resultant hybrids (male or female) which were produced by either wild ram × domestic ewe or domestic ram × wild ewe had identical chromosome number (2n=54). Normal genital apparatuses and fertile conditions were observed in both types of adult hybrids.
Conclusion: The results indicated a very close generational relationship between the wild and domestic sheep species and also the possibility of domestic species to be used as an abundant genetic background for saving endangered wild sheep via SCNT.