A freemartin or free-martin (sometimes martin heifer) is an infertile female mammal with Freemartinism is the normal outcome of mixed-sex twins in all cattle species that have been studied, and it also occurs occasionally in other mammals. J Am Vet Med Assoc. May 15;(10) Diagnosis of freemartinism in cattle: the need for clinical and cytogenic evaluation. Zhang T(1), Buoen LC. Freemartinism is recognized as one of the most severe forms of sexual abnormality among cattle. This condition causes infertility in the female.

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It is not a genetic trait that is passed on through generations; it occurs randomly from the conception of two embryos instead of one. Cytogenetic evaluation for freemartinism thus offers the added value of simultaneous surveillance for cytogenetic aberrations in male and female cells of a sample.

An introduction to behavioral endocrinology.

Freemartinism in Cattle – Frequently Asked Questions

This condition causes infertility in the female cattle born twin to a male. It does not normally occur in most other mammals, though it has been recorded in sheep[13] goats[14] pigs[15] deer, and camels. Although the male twin in this case is only affected by reduced fertility, in over ninety percent of the cases, the female twin is completely infertile.

Journal of Dairy Science. This combination of procedures could prevent unnecessary economic losses and preserve important genetic material. The presence of male hormones impairs the development of the female reproductive system.


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This page was last edited on 23 Octoberat A female twin born with a male twin has no reproductive value, it is important not to spend time czttle money preparing the heifer to go into your breeding herd. Freemartins behave and grow in a similar way to castrated male cattle steers. The 18th-century physician John Hunter discovered that a freemartin always has a male twin.

The result was published fgeemartinism by Tandler and Keller. What are the economic implications?

The animal originates as a female XXbut acquires the male XY component in utero by exchange of some cellular material from a male twin, via vascular connections between placentas: The fetus is genetically female, but male hormones dominate its reproductive system. The external vulvar region can range from a very normal looking female to a female that appears to be male. It causes infertility in the female calf born with a male twin. One estimate Gilmore puts the percentage at about.

Lilliewho published it in Science in Retrieved from ” https: Because of a transfer of hormones or a transfer of cells, the heifer’s reproductive tract is severely underdeveloped and sometimes even contains some elements of a bull’s reproductive tract. Six hundred calves Several researchers made the discovery that a freemartin results when a female fetus has its chorion fuse in the uterus with that of a male twin.

We propose that obvious freemartins be identified by use of the vaginal-length test and that the remaining clinically questionable calves freeartinism differentiated cytogenetically. When these antigens mix, they affect each other in a way that causes each to develop with some characteristics of the other sex.


General and Comparative Endocrinology. In some cases, the female genitalia may appear to be male. When a heifer twin shares the uterus with a bull fetus, they also share the placental membranes connecting the fetuses with the dam.

Diagnosis of freemartinism in cattle: the need for clinical and cytogenic evaluation.

Bovine health Twin Sex. Estimates of the percentage of natural beef cattle births that produce twins vary. A total of blood samples from female calves born co-twin to male calves were examined cytogenetically for freemartinism between and Journal of Agricultural Research.

Reduced fertility sometimes occurs in the male twin, but in ninety percent of the cases the female twin is completely infertile. A joining of the placental membranes occurs at about the fortieth day of pregnancy, and thereafter, the fluids of the two fetuses are mixed. This transfer freemartinisj hormones and antigens causes the female’s reproductive tract to be severely underdeveloped, and in some cases they express cattlw of a male reproductive system.

Freemartinism occurs when a female twin shares the uterus with a male. Can freemartinism be seen externally?