In male sheep, testicular development is almost complete at birth. Testicular cells start to differentiate as early as Day (D) 27 of gestation followed by steroidogenesis and the activation of associated enzyme systems (Rhind 2004). Sertoli cells are present at around D34 and replication continues postnatally (Hochereau-de Reviers et al. 1987). Seminiferous cords that will develop into tubules appear between D35 and D40 (Sweeney et al. 1997; Rhind et al. 2001). By D70 the rete testis is organised in the centre of testis (Sweeney et al. 1997) and between D35 and D85 the GnRH neuronal system develops in the hypothalamus (Caldani et al. 1995). Testicular gonocytes are typically observed between birth and 25 days after birth, and then progressively differentiate into spermatogonia up to 70 days after birth (Sharpe et al. 2003).
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 73, Hamilton, 41-44, 2013
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