HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Rome, Italy or Virtually from your home or work.

4th Edition of Euro-Global Conference on Biotechnology and Bioengineering

September 19-21 | Hybrid Event

September 19-21, 2024 | Rome, Italy
ECBB 2024

Stefanie Kurtz

Stefanie Kurtz, Speaker at Bioengineering Conferences 2024
Institute of Farm Animal Genetics, Germany
Title: Sex determination in pigs by using gene editing


Sexing by gene editing in pigs is an alluring alternative to the surgical castration of piglets as the male-specific boar taint remains a major obstacle in pork production. In mice, the SRY-gene was first described as a genetic developmental switch for the male phenotype. The knockout of the murine SRY-gene by TALEN suppressed testis development in the fetal gonadal ridges and generated a female phenotype. In addition, the knockout of the 5’ flanking region of the rabbit SRY gene results in a similar phenotype as in mice. In our study, we aimed to generate a knockout of the porcine SRY gene to investigate its role in sex determination in pigs. For the first time, we successfully generated a knockout of the SRY gene in pigs by microinjection of two CRISPR/Cas9 complexes targeting the centrally located “high mobility group” domain (HMG) of the SRY gene. Frameshift mutations within the porcine HMG domain resulted in the development of complete female external and internal genitalia in genetically male piglets. Moreover, we further confirmed the function of the HMG box as the main functional domain for male sex development, as the introduction of a deletion within the 5’ flanking region of the HMG domain was not associated with sex reversal in the resulting offspring. These results pave the way to generate boars that produce female offspring only and provide a potential solution to avoid surgical castration.

Audience Take Away Notes:

  • The role of the porcine SRY gene in sex determination
  • Use of intracytoplasmic microinjection of CRISPR/Cas system and/or cloning to induce sex reversal in pigs
  • Concept to generate female-producing boars


Stefanie Kurtz studied Veterinary medicine at University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany and graduated in 2017. She then joined the research group of Prof. Dr. Heiner Niemann at the Institute of Farm Animal Genetics, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI) in Mariensee, Neustadt am Rübenberge, Germany. She received her PhD degree in 2020 at the same institution investigating sex determination in pigs. From 2021 to 2023 she worked at the Lower Saxony State Office for Consumer Production and Food safety for animal welfare in animal testing. Since 2023 she is back in FLI Mariensee as scientist for gene editing in pigs.