Expression profiles of genes regulating dairy cow fertility: recent findings, ongoing activities and future possibilities

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Subfertility has negative effects for dairy farm profitability, animal welfare and sustainability of animal production. Increasing herd sizes and economic pressures restrict the amount of time that farmers can spend on counteractive management Genetic improvement will become increasingly important to restore reproductive performance. Complementary to traditional breeding value estimation procedures, genomic selection based on genome-wide information will become more widely applied. Functional genomics, including transcriptomics (gene expression profiling), produces the information to understand the consequences of selection as it helps to unravel physiological mechanisms underlying female fertility traits. Insight into the latter is needed to develop new effective management strategies to combat subfertility. Here, the importance of functional genomics for dairy cow reproduction so far and in the near future is evaluated. Recent gene profiling studies in the field of dairy cow fertility are reviewed and new data are presented on genes that are expressed in the brains of dairy cows and that are involved in dairy cow oestrus (behaviour). Fast-developing new research areas in the field of functional genomics, such as epigenetics, RNA interference, variable copy numbers and nutrigenomics are discussed including their promising future value for dairy cow fertility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1167
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • in-vitro
  • bovine embryos
  • twinning rate
  • copy-number
  • quantitative expression
  • functional genomics
  • improve fertility
  • female fertility
  • nuclear transfer
  • milk-production

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