One of the main economical problems of sheep breeding is that continual production is not possible due to the seasonality of animals. Today, genes, mutations that may develop aseasonality in sheep are extensively researched in order to make the establishment of populations capable of aseasonal estrus possible.
According to the current knowledge, the GPR54 gene participates in the GnRH release from the hypothalamus, and thus in the alteration of the reproduction state of the organism. Our research is aimed to determine whether the GPR54 gene has allele variations that influence the proneness to aseasonal estrus in sheep in a different extent. Therefore, the GPR54 gene sequence of sheep is first examined.
Merino and Merino-derived sheep breeds have been widely known and distributed across the world, both as purebred and admixed populations. They represent a diverse genetic resource which over time has been used as the basis for the development of new breeds. In spite of this, their gene-pool potential is still unexplored. The Merino sheep represent the most important sheep resource of the Hungarian husbandry. It has the largest amount of individuals between both of the stock and commercial flocks. But in Europe the Merino stocks went through a drastic reduction in number. Thus these breeds became endangered in several countries as well as in Hungary. In this study we would like to present the recent status of different Merino breeds of the world to ground our further phylogenetic research with the Hungarian Merino breed.