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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Reduced fertility sometimes occurs in the male twin, but in ninety percent of the cases the female twin is completely infertile.

A female twin born with a male twin has no reproductive value, it is important not to spend time and money preparing the heifer to go into your breeding herd.

A freemartin is the normal outcome of mixed twins in all cattle species which fresmartinism been studied. All pages needing factual verification Wikipedia articles needing freemarinism verification from May Approximately one-half of the sets of twins should contain both a bull and a heifer calf.

Although the male twin in this case is only affected by reduced fertility, in over ninety percent of the cases, the i twin is completely infertile. Freemartinism cannot be prevented. Also, the ovaries of a freemartin do not produce the hormones necessary to induce the behavioral signs of heat. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Molecular and Developmental Evolution.

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Most often the external genitalia of the female appears normal, but the internal organs are underdeveloped. The result was published in by Tandler and Keller. In rural areas folklore often claimed this condition was not just peculiar to cattle, but extended also to human twins; this belief perpetuated for generations, as was mentioned in the writings of Bede.


A joining of the placental membranes occurs at about the fortieth day of pregnancy, and thereafter, the fluids of the two fetuses are mixed.


The 18th-century physician John Hunter discovered that a freemartin always has a male twin. Bovine health Twin Freemadtinism. If both fetuses are the same sex this is of no significance, but if they are different, male hormones pass from the male twin to the female twin. The fetus is genetically female, but male hormones dominate its reproductive system.

Often the ovaries are underdeveloped and are cattlw capable of producing eggs. Image Reprinted from http: Registration VAT No. The cattleman can predict the reproductive value of this heifer calf at birth and save the feed and development costs if he is aware of the high probability of freemartinism.

Freemartinism in Cattle – Frequently Asked Questions

Retrieved from ” https: Views Read Edit View history. This transfer of hormones and antigens causes the female’s reproductive tract to be severely underdeveloped, and in some cases they express characteristics of a male reproductive system. This page was last edited on 23 Octoberat Thus, by analyzing these tissues, one can investigate the capacity of hematopoietic stem cells or other circulating cells to produce other tissues in addition to blood.

A freemartin or free-martin sometimes martin heifer is an infertile female mammal with masculinized behavior and non-functioning ovaries. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Freemartins are occasionally used in stem cell and immunology freeemartinism.


Freemartin – Wikipedia

Therefore, probably a large number of female co-twins that are not cattle freemartins are sold to slaughter every year. It causes infertility in the female calf born with a male twin. If suspected, a test can be done to detect the presence of the male Y-chromosomes in some circulating white blood cells of the subject.

What are the economic implications?

For example the vulva may be normal, but there may be large amounts czttle hair present or the udder will not be fully developed and sometimes it is not noticeable at first glance. The etymology of the term “freemartin” is uncertain: Can freemartinism be seen externally? Freemartinism occurs when a female twin shares the uterus with a male. We concluded that some obvious freemartins were eliminated prior to submission of samples for confirmatory cytogenetic diagnosis, and that only a small percentage of the estimated 93, female calves born co-twin to male calves annually are so examined.

Male-derived cells and their progeny can be easily visualized in the freemartin tissues, as only they contain the male Y chromosome.

One estimate Gilmore puts the percentage at about. This combination of procedures could prevent unnecessary economic losses and preserve important genetic material. 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. This information published to the web on March 19, Three animals with chromosomal anomalies were found during examination of samples for freemartinism.