Goat Development

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Goat and kids
Goat and kids

The goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) was domesticated from the wild goat of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe and is closely related to sheep. Goats, depending on both breed and nutritional status, reach puberty between 3 to 15 months of age and then have an estrous cycle with estrus (heat) every 21 days for 2 to 48 hours. The gestational period is about 150 days producing single, twins and triplet births.

Links: 1942 early goat development

Some Recent Findings

  • Dynamics of The Expression of Pluripotency and Lineage Specific Genes in The Pre and Peri-Implantation Goat Embryo[1] "Two critical points of early development are the first and second lineage segregations, which are regulated by a wide spectrum of molecular and cellular factors. Gene regulatory networks, are one of the important components which handle inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm (TE) fates and the pluripotency status across different mammalian species. Considering the importance of goats in agriculture and biotechnology, this study set out to investigate the dynamics of expression of the core pluripotency markers at the mRNA and protein levels. In this experimental study, the expression pattern of three pluripotency markers (Oct4, Nanog and Sox2) and the linage specific markers (Rex1, Gata4 and Cdx2) were quantitatively assessed in in vitro matured (MII) oocytes and embryos at three distinctive stages: 8-16 cell stage, day-7 (D7) blastocysts and D14 blastocysts. Moreover, expression of Nanog, Oct4, Sox2 proteins, and their localization in the goat blastocyst was observed through immunocytochemistry. Relative levels of mRNA transcripts for Nanog and Sox2 in D3 (8-16 cell) embryos were significantly higher than D7 blastocysts and mature oocytes, while Oct4 was only significantly higher than D7 blastocysts. However, the expression pattern of Rex1, as an epiblast linage marker, decreased from the oocyte to the D14 stage. The expression pattern of Gata4 and Cdx2, as extra embryonic linage markers, also showed a similar trend from oocyte to D3 while their expressions were up-regulated in D14 blastocysts. Reduction in Nanog, Oct4, Sox2 mRNA transcription and a late increase in extra embryonic linage markers suggests that the developmental program of linage differentiation is retarded in goat embryos compared to previously reported data on mice and humans. This is likely related to late the implantation in goats."
  • Activin-A receptor expression patterns in prepubertal goat oocytes and derived embryos[2] "This study examines the presence of activin IIA and IIB receptors (ActR-IIA and ActR-IIB) by Western blotting and immunocytochemistry in immature and IVM-oocytes, 2 to 8-cells embryos and blastocysts from prepubertal goats. Western blotting revealed that activin receptors are synthesized during oocyte maturation and embryo development. In the immunocytochemistry experiments, no immunostaining for either receptor was detected in oocytes while both receptors were immunolabelled in all the cells of cleaved embryos. In blastocysts, while ActR-IIA expression appeared evenly distributed in the two cell lineages, inner cell mass and trophectoderm, the ActR-IIB immunosignal was restricted mainly to the inner cell mass. Our findings reveal the presence of activin type II receptors (ActR-IIA and ActR-IIB) in in vitro matured prepubertal goat oocytes and blastocyst-stage embryos. The expression of these receptors could be a key factor in understanding differences between competent and incompetent oocytes."
More recent papers  
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Search term: Goat Development | Goat Embryology | Capra aegagrus hircus Development

Older papers  
These papers originally appeared in the Some Recent Findings table, but as that list grew in length have now been shuffled down to this collapsible table.

See also the Discussion Page for other references listed by year and References on this current page.

  • FOXL2 is a female sex-determining gene in the goat[3] "The origin of sex reversal in XX goats homozygous for the polled intersex syndrome (PIS) mutation was unclear because of the complexity of the mutation that affects the transcription of both FOXL2 and several long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Accumulating evidence suggested that FOXL2 could be the sole gene of the PIS locus responsible for XX sex reversal, the lncRNAs being involved in transcriptional regulation of FOXL2. In this study, using zinc-finger nuclease-directed mutagenesis, we generated several fetuses, of which one XX individual bears biallelic mutations of FOXL2. Our analysis demonstrates that FOXL2 loss of function dissociated from loss of lncRNA expression is sufficient to cause an XX female-to-male sex reversal in the goat model and, as in the mouse model, an agenesis of eyelids. Both developmental defects were reproduced in two newborn animals cloned from the XX FOXL2(-/-) fibroblasts. These results therefore identify FOXL2 as a bona fide female sex-determining gene in the goat. They also highlight a stage-dependent role of FOXL2 in the ovary, different between goats and mice, being important for fetal development in the former but for postnatal maintenance in the latter.
  • Microarray analysis of gene expression in parthenotes and in vitro-derived goat embryos[4] "The present work was carried out to investigate the global gene expression profile to search differentially expressed candidate transcripts between parthenogenetic and in vitro-fertilized (IVF) caprine morula. ...Five UR genes validated (PTEN, PHF3, CTNNB1, SELK, and NPDC1) and all of them were significantly higher in parthenotes, which was in accordance with microarray results, whereas the expression of DR (AURKC and KLF15) genes were downregulated in parthenotes as observed in microarray results but the difference was not significant (P < 0.05). In conclusion, our findings demonstrate differential expression of a large number of genes in parthenotes compared with IVF embryos, which may be the reason for aberrant parthenogenetic embryo development in caprine species."


Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla Family: Bovidae Subfamily: Caprinae Genus: Capra Species: C. aegagrus Subspecies: C. a. hircus

Development Overview


  1. HosseinNia P, Hajian M, Jafarpour F, Hosseini SM, Tahmoorespur M & Nasr-Esfahani MH. (2019). Dynamics of The Expression of Pluripotency and Lineage Specific Genes in The Pre and Peri-Implantation Goat Embryo. Cell J , 21, 194-203. PMID: 30825293 DOI.
  2. Morató R, Hammami S, Paramio MT & Izquierdo D. (2019). Activin-A receptor expression patterns in prepubertal goat oocytes and derived embryos. Reprod. Domest. Anim. , 54, 804-807. PMID: 30786073 DOI.
  3. Boulanger L, Pannetier M, Gall L, Allais-Bonnet A, Elzaiat M, Le Bourhis D, Daniel N, Richard C, Cotinot C, Ghyselinck NB & Pailhoux E. (2014). FOXL2 is a female sex-determining gene in the goat. Curr. Biol. , 24, 404-8. PMID: 24485832 DOI.
  4. Singh R, Kumar K, Mahapatra PS, Kumar M, Agarwal P, Bhure SK, Malakar D, Bhanja SK & Bag S. (2014). Microarray analysis of gene expression in parthenotes and in vitro-derived goat embryos. Theriogenology , 81, 854-60. PMID: 24507961 DOI.


Raudsepp T & Chowdhary BP. (2016). Chromosome Aberrations and Fertility Disorders in Domestic Animals. Annu Rev Anim Biosci , 4, 15-43. PMID: 26884101 DOI.


HosseinNia P, Hajian M, Tahmoorespur M, Hosseini SM, Ostadhosseini S, Nasiri MR & Nasr-Esfahani MH. (2016). Expression Profile of Developmentally Important Genes in preand peri-Implantation Goat Embryos Produced In Vitro. Int J Fertil Steril , 10, 310-319. PMID: 27695614

Hajian M, Hosseini SM, Ostadhosseini S & Nasr-Esfahani MH. (2016). Targeting the transforming growth factor-β signaling during pre-implantation development in embryos of cattle, sheep and goats. Growth Factors , 34, 141-8. PMID: 27442780 DOI.


Amoroso EC. Griffiths WFB. and Hamilton WJ. The early development of the goat (Capra hircus). (1942) J Anat. 76(4): 377–406.5. PMC1252677

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, June 22) Embryology Goat Development. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Goat_Development

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