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Reprod Suppl. 2001;58:159-73.

In vitro fertilization and embryo development in pigs.

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PIC International, 2929 Seventh Street, Suite 130, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA.


Considerable progress has been made in the in vitro production of pig embryos using improved methods for in vitro maturation (IVM) and fertilization (IVF). Despite the progress, polyspermic penetration remains a problem for in vitro-matured oocytes. Variation among boars, ejaculates and IVF protocols used in different laboratories appears to influence the incidence of polyspermy. Recent studies indicate that oviduct cells and their secretions play a role in reducing polyspermy. Very early attempts to culture in vivo-derived pig embryos met with little success and most were arrested at the four-cell stage. At present, many culture media are available that can overcome the four-cell block and support development to the blastocyst stage. In contrast, blastocyst development of in vitro-produced (IVP) embryos in these culture media varies significantly. Significant differences in morphology and numbers of cells have been observed in in vitro-produced blastocysts compared with in vivo-derived blastocysts. Surgical transfer of in vitro-produced embryos to recipient animals has resulted in acceptable pregnancy rates with moderate litter sizes. Although several systems are available for the generation of in vitro-produced embryos, the problems of polyspermy and poor embryo survival prevent large-scale production of embryos. Further research should be directed to improve oocyte and embryo quality, and to develop methods to minimize polyspermy through development of better IVM, IVF and embryo culture techniques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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