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Theriogenology. 1995 Jul 15;44(2):227-32.

Birth of large calves that developed from in vitro-derived bovine embryos.

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Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


High birth weights were observed in calves that developed from bovine embryos produced by in vitro maturation (IVM) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures. After IVM and IVF, embryos were either co-cultured in vitro with oviductal epithelial cells or transferred into the sheep oviduct for development to the blastocyst stage. Blastocysts were transferred to the reproductive tracts of recipient heifers and cows for development to term. Birth weights and gestation periods were compared between calves that developed from in vitro-derived embryos and calves born after artificial insemination (AI) of cows in the herd from which recipient females were selected. Gestation periods were not different among the groups (P > 0.05), but calves that developed from IVM/IVF-derived embryos co-cultured in vitro were larger at birth than calves born from IVM/IVF-derived embryos that developed into blastocysts in the sheep oviduct and calves born from AI (P < 0.001). Dystocia and calf mortality were associated with large calf size at birth. These data were collected from an experiment designed for other purposes, and confounding variables and small sample size could have influenced the observed differences in birth weights. Nevertheless, the extreme birth weights of some calves suggest that abnormal prenatal growth occurs in some IVM/IVF-derived bovine embryos and that conditions for co-culture to the blastocyst stage may exacerbate the problem.

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