Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Animal Science

Department

Animal Science

Advisor

Matthew A. Burd

Abstract

This study investigated the development potential of equine embryos in vitro after biopsy and vitrification. Twenty embryos were obtained from Quarter Horse, Thoroughbred, and mix-breed light mares between three and ten years old. The twenty embryos were divided into a biopsy (n=10) and control group (n=10). The biopsy group underwent microaspiration biopsy using a micromanipulator to obtain a small tissue sample from the embryo. Both groups were then vitrified using a commercially available technique originally described by Carnevale (2006) at Colorado State \ University.

All 20 embryos were cultured in DMEM/Hams F-12 medium under oil at 37°C in 5% CO2 in air (Hinrichs et al., 1990). Embryos were monitored for expansion and hatching. Embryo development was statistically different between the two groups (p<0.05). The biopsy procedure did result in a much lower development potential in the biopsy group as compared to the control group (20% vs. 80%). However, embryos in the biopsy group did show expansion and hatching therefore the combined procedure did not preclude development potential in vitro. Based on these findings, more research needs to be done to increase the success of the combined procedure and the ultimate viability of the embryos needs to be confirmed with the establishment of successful pregnancies.

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