Reindeer is the only species in which the females carry antlers in Cervidae, and the differences between the antler tips of the two sexes are one of the most interesting scientific mysteries. The objective of this study was to isolate preliminarily differentially expressed genes in antler mesenchyme of both sexes. The genes were detected with three anchored primers and ten random primers using differential display reverse transcription PCR (DDRT-PCR). Five differentially expressed fragments were obtained through recovery, cloning and sequencing. Three of them (Af1, Ce1, Ci2) presented a higher expression in antler mesenchyme of female reindeer, but the other two (Ae1, Af3) were the opposite. The results of Blast in GenBank showed that they shared high homologies with SMAD5 (95%), COL6A3 (95%), SLC17A5 (93%), TPM4 (99%) and HMGB1 (98%), respectively. Quantitative RT-PCR validation of gene COL6A3 showed that the expression in both sexes was consistent with the results of mRNA differential display, but there was no significant difference between the male and female.
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