From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Freemartinism
Mains level : NA
- In the realm of animal husbandry, a phenomenon known as Freemartinism sheds light on the extraordinary diversity found in cattle.
Freemartinism: A Unique Phenomenon
- Freemartins are sterile female cattle born exhibiting characteristics of both sexes.
- This phenomenon arises when a male and a female twin develop within the same uterus, occurring in approximately 90% of twin pregnancies in cattle.
- The exchange of blood between the male and female foetuses during gestation plays a pivotal role in Freemartinism.
- Freemartinism is primarily attributed to the sharing of cells carrying the Y chromosome from the male twin with the female twin.
- Y chromosome triggers the development of male reproductive organs in the male foetus, while the female foetus, influenced by male hormones, undergoes incomplete development of its reproductive system.
- Freemartins possess underdeveloped or non-functional reproductive tracts, rendering them incapable of reproduction.
- In agricultural settings, identifying freemartins is crucial to enhance reproductive efficiency in cattle breeding.
- Farmers often utilize physical and behavioural traits to identify freemartins, subsequently removing them from the breeding herd.
- This culling strategy helps improve the overall breeding program by ensuring that non-reproductive cattle do not contribute to the herd.