DUBAI // The Camel Reproduction Centre in Dubai and University of Dublin are working towards an early-pregnancy test for camels.
They are looking at changes in a camel's body in early pregnancy in the hope of providing more successful births. It may lead to a commercially viable method.
"Our group is looking at the differences that occur naturally when comparing pregnant and non-pregnant camels during early pregnancy," said Dr Gillian Duffy of the University of Dublin.
"This research leads to a better understanding of how the uterus prepares for pregnancy and how maternal recognition of pregnancy occurs in the dromedary."
Early detection allows for re-insemination of camels that do not conceive, improving the number of viable pregnancies.
By using genome comparison they "identified genes that are differentially expressed at different stages of pregnancy, when comparing pregnant and non-pregnant camels in which ovulation has been induced", Dr Duffy said.
The project started in early 2011 and the university received tissue and blood samples from camels in the Dubai centre that June.
The centre, led by Dr Lulu Skidmore, induced ovulation in 30 camels, then inseminated them.
So far, the team has made a vital step in detecting differences as early as six days after ovulation.
The project's next step will be to compare the genome sequence of the camel to that of other species.
"That will further our understanding of the maternal recognition of pregnancy mechanism in the camel," Dr Duffy said.