Putative imprinted gene expression in uniparental bovine embryo models

Reprod Fertil Dev. 2008;20(5):589-97. doi: 10.1071/rd08024.


Altered patterns of gene expression and the imprinted status of genes have a profound effect on cell physiology and can markedly alter embryonic and fetal development. Failure to maintain correct imprinting patterns can lead to abnormal growth and behavioural problems, or to early pregnancy loss. Recently, it has been reported that the Igf2R and Grb10 genes are biallelically expressed in sheep blastocysts, but monoallelically expressed at Day 21 of development. The present study investigated the imprinting status of 17 genes in in vivo, parthenogenetic and androgenetic bovine blastocysts in order to determine the prevalence of this unique phenomenon. Specifically, the putatively imprinted genes Ata3, Impact, L3Mbtl, Magel2, Mkrn3, Peg3, Snrpn, Ube3a and Zac1 were investigated for the first time in bovine in vitro fertilised embryos. Ata3 was the only gene not detected. The results of the present study revealed that all genes, except Xist, failed to display monoallelic expression patterns in bovine embryos and support recent results reported for ovine embryos. Collectively, the data suggest that monoallelic expression may not be required for most imprinted genes during preimplantation development, especially in ruminants. The research also suggests that monoallelic expression of genes may develop in a gene- and time-dependent manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle / embryology*
  • Cattle / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cleavage Stage, Ovum / physiology
  • Embryo Culture Techniques
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Embryonic Development / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genomic Imprinting / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Oocytes / growth & development
  • Parthenogenesis / genetics*