News last update:6 Aug 2012

More male lambs with Omega 6

Sheep supplemented with omega-6 fatty acids in their diet seem to produce more male lambs, according to scientists from the University of Missouri-Columbia in the US.

Michael Roberts who led the current study, to be published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology thinks that the abundance of oil somehow signals the female body that times of plenty are ahead, which then triggers changes in the egg that make it more receptive to male sperm. Ewes on a normal diet have just as many daughters as sons, the study showed.

It is still unclear whether the kind of fat is important, but Roberts thinks it's just the amount of fat that tips the balance in favour of a son, and that the type is less important.

The observations of this study may have implications to the livestock industry and animal management policies when offspring of one sex may be preferred over the other.

Related website:
University of Missouri  

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