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Reprod Nutr Dev. 2000 Sep-Oct;40(5):505-12.

Current progress on assisted reproduction in dogs and cats: in vitro embryo production.

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  • 1Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan, Italy. gcluvoni@mailserver.unimi.it

Abstract

The objective of the development of assisted reproduction techniques in dogs and cats is their application to non-domestic canine and feline species, most of which are considered threatened or endangered. Among these techniques, an entirely in vitro system for embryo production is effectively an important tool for conservation of wildlife. In the last decade, progress has been made in embryo production in carnivores. It has been shown that canine oocytes can resume meiosis in vitro and that these oocytes can be fertilized and developed in vitro, although at a much lower rate than most other domestic animal oocytes. The reason lies in the dissimilarities of reproductive physiology of the dog compared to other species and the lack of precise information concerning the oviductal environment, in which oocyte maturation, fertilization and early embryonic development take place. Successful in vitro embryo production in the domestic cat has been attained with oocytes matured in vitro, and kittens were born after transfer of IVM/IVF derived embryos. On the basis of these results the in vitro fertilization of oocytes has also been applied in several non-domestic feline species. The effectiveness of such protocols in the preservation of genetic material of rare species can be improved by developing better techniques for long-term storage of gametes. In dogs and cats sperm cells have been successfully frozen and the cryopreservation of oocytes would greatly increase their availability for a range of reproductive technologies. Cryopreserved cat oocytes can be fertilized successfully and their development in vitro after fertilization is enhanced when mature oocytes are frozen. Thus refined techniques of oocyte maturation and fertilization in vitro coupled with oocyte cryopreservation could allow for an easy establishment of genetic combinations when male and female gametes in the desired combination are not simultaneously available, and the propagation of endangered carnivores would be facilitated.

PMID:
11140820
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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