The mithun (Bos frontalis) not only remains one of the most neglected ungulate species due to its remote range, but also has been identified as a vulnerable species due to its declining population. Augmenting its reproductive efficiency could be a strategy for reversing its population decline. Considering the importance of interferon-tau (IFNT) as a primary signal in establishing maternal recognition of pregnancy (MRP), the present study was undertaken to characterize the IFNT gene of the mithun. A 588 bp mithun IFNT (mitIFNT) gene was PCR amplified using genomic DNA as the template. Its nucleotide sequence comprised an entire open reading frame of 585 bp encoding a 195 amino acid pre-protein. In nucleotide sequence, the mitIFNT gene was more than 85% similar to the homologous genes of domestic and wild ruminant species characterized to date. However, phylogenetic analysis placed mitIFNT into a clade containing IFNT of the red deer, but not IFNTs of cow, sheep, or goats, or other wild ruminant species. Our characterization of mitIFNT represents the first complete sequence of any gene from the mithun.
maternal recognition of pregnancy (MRP)