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J Anim Sci. 2007 Jul;85(7):1634-9. Epub 2007 Mar 5.

Early embryonic survival and embryo development in two lines of rabbits divergently selected for uterine capacity.

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Departamento de Ciencia Animal, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain.


The aim of this work is to study early embryo survival and development in 2 lines divergently selected for high and low uterine capacity throughout 10 generations. A total of 162 female rabbits from the high line and 133 from the low line were slaughtered at 25, 48, or 62 h of gestation. There were no differences in ovulation rate and fertilization rate between lines in any of the 3 stages of gestation. Embryo survival, estimated as the number of normal embryos recovered at a constant ovulation rate, was similar in both lines at 25 and 48 h. Embryo survival was greater in the high line [D (posterior mean of the difference between the high and low lines) = 0.57 embryos] at 62 h of gestation. There was no difference in embryonic stage of development at 25 h, but at 48 and 62 h of gestation, the high line, compared with the low line, had a greater percentage of early morulae (83 vs. 72%) and compacted morulae (55 vs. 38%). Divergent selection for uterine capacity appeared to modify embryo development, at least from 48 h of gestation, and embryo survival from 62 h.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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