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Theriogenology. 2008 Apr 15;69(7):886-95. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2008.01.006. Epub 2008 Mar 17.

History of commercializing sexed semen for cattle.

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GametoBiology Consulting, P.O. Box 1939, Graeagle, CA 96103-1939, USA.


Although the basic principles controlling the sex of mammalian offspring have been known for a relatively long time, recent application of certain modern cellular methodologies has led to development of a flow cytometric system capable of differentiating and separating living X- and Y-chromosome-bearing sperm in amounts suitable for AI and therefore, commercialization of this sexing technology. After a very long history of unsuccessful attempts to differentiate between mammalian sperm that produce males from those that produce females, a breakthrough came in 1981 when it was demonstrated that precise DNA content could be measured. Although these initial measurements of DNA content killed the sperm in the process, they led to the ultimate development of a sperm sorting system that was capable, not only of differentiating between live X- and Y-sperm, but of sorting them into relatively pure X- and Y-sperm populations without obvious cellular damage. Initial efforts to predetermine the sex of mammalian offspring in 1989 required surgical insemination, but later enhancements provided sex-sorted sperm in quantities suitable for use with IVF. Subsequent advances in flow sorting provided minimal numbers of sperm sufficient for use in AI. It was not until the flow cytometric sorting system was improved greatly and successful cryopreservation of sex-sorted bull sperm was developed that efficacious approaches to commercialization of sexed semen could be implemented worldwide in cattle. A number of companies now offer sex-sorted bovine sperm. Innovative approaches by a diverse group of scientists along with advances in computer science, biophysics, cell biology, instrumentation, and applied reproductive physiology provided the basis for commercializing sexed semen in cattle.

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