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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2010;22(5):839-51. doi: 10.1071/RD09277.

Maturation, fertilisation and culture of bovine oocytes and embryos in an individually identifiable manner: a tool for studying oocyte developmental competence.

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National Livestock Breeding Center, Odakurahara 1, Nishigo, Fukushima 961-8511, Japan.


The ability to successfully culture oocytes and embryos individually would facilitate the study of the relationship between follicle parameters and oocyte developmental competence, in order to identify markers of competent oocytes, as well as the ability to use small numbers of oocytes from an individual donor such as when ovum pick-up is carried out. Using a total of 3118 oocytes, the aim of the present study was to develop a system capable of supporting the development of immature bovine oocytes to the blastocyst stage in an individually identifiable manner. Initially, post-fertilisation embryo culture in the Well-of-the-Well (WOW) system, on the cell adhesive Cell-Tak or in polyester mesh was tested and shown to result in similar development to embryos cultured in standard group culture. The results demonstrate that it is possible to culture bovine oocytes to the blastocyst stage in an individually identifiable manner in all three culture systems with comparable success rates. This permits the localisation and identification of individual embryos throughout preimplantation development in vitro while retaining the developmental benefits of group culture. In terms of ease of preparation and use, culture in isolation within the strands of a polyester mesh is preferable.

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