AN ANCIENT Egyptian practice of divining a woman's pregnancy by treating wheat seeds with her urine, say scientists, could be used as an efficient, economical pregnancy test for cows. The currently available laboratory methods of diagnosing pregnancy in cattle are laborious and expensive (Current Science, Vol 65, No 12).
Based on clues in papyrii from ancient Egypt, T Veena and R Narendranath at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore found that the germination and shoot growth of wheat seeds treated with the urine of pregnant cows was markedly retarded compared to those treated with the urine of non-pregnant cows. And this inhibitive effect lasted 2-3 months after conception.
Scientists hint that the inhibitive effect could be due to plant growth regulators called auxins, whose level goes up in cow urine during pregnancy.
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