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Theriogenology. 2009 Mar 15;71(5):864-71. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2008.10.012. Epub 2009 Jan 9.

Birth of domestic cat kittens of predetermined sex after transfer of embryos produced by in vitro fertilization of oocytes with flow-sorted sperm.

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  • 1Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, 14001 River Road, New Orleans, LA 70131, USA. epope@auduboninstitute.org


Our goals were to: (1) determine if domestic cat sperm could be sorted to high purity by flow cytometry after overnight shipment of cooled samples; (2) evaluate the efficiency with which sorted sperm could be used to generate cat embryos in vitro; and (3) determine if live kittens of predetermined sex could be produced after transfer of embryos derived by IVF using sorted sperm. Semen samples (n=5) from one male were extended in electrolyte-free solution and shipped overnight at 4 degrees C to the sorting facility. Samples were adjusted to 75x10(6)sperm/mL and stained with Hoechst 33342. After 1h at 34.5 degrees C, samples were adjusted to 50x10(6)sperm/mL with 4% egg yolk TALP+0.002% food dye and sorted by high-speed flow cytometry. Later resort analysis confirmed purities of 94% and 83% for X- and Y-chromosome bearing sperm, respectively. Sorted sperm were centrifuged, re-suspended in TEST yolk buffer and shipped overnight to the IVF laboratory. After IVF of in vivo matured oocytes with X-chromosome bearing sperm, cleavage frequency was 62% (54/87). After IVF of IVM oocytes with control, X- or Y-chromosome bearing sperm, the incidence of cleavage was 42% (48/115), 33% (40/120), and 35% (52/150), respectively, and blastocyst development was 53% (21/40), 50% (11/22), and 55% (23/42), respectively (P>0.05). On Day 2, 45 embryos produced by IVF of in vivo matured oocytes with X-chromosome bearing sperm were transferred to the oviduct of four Day 1 recipients, three of which subsequently delivered litters of one, four, and seven female kittens, respectively. In conclusion, we confirmed that sperm sorting technology can be applied to domestic cats and established that kittens of predetermined sex can be produced.

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