June 2014 President’s Letter

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Published on: June 17, 2014

I hope this newsletter finds you all well. Spring means a lot of different things to different people. For those of you that do a lot of beef work like we do, it means large groups of recipients waiting for you day after day. Bawling cows and calves in your ear all day is the norm. While we are all busy with our practices and families, many of your colleagues are busy keeping your organization moving in a positive direction.

Jon Schmidt and Charles Looney are working with their counterparts from the Canadian Embryo Transfer Association (CETA) to put together a fantastic program for Madison. I am sure they will put together a program that will have something for everyone. In addition to their efforts, the education committee is working on several ideas to make our meeting more “student friendly.” Because of the proximity of this meeting to many major universities and veterinary schools, they recognize the opportunity to showcase our organization to students. I want to personally invite any student that can find time in their busy schedules to attend to please do so.

2014 is also the year for China inspections and reinspections. These will be taking place between June 23 and July 4 this summer. I want to thank everyone who has participated in this effort so far. A great deal of effort from the cooperator committee, government liaison committee, and Jeremy at the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) office has been invested already. The AETA has worked very closely with the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) and our representatives from USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to make this event happen. I also want to thank Martin Sieber for agreeing to spearhead this operation and am confident he will make the event happen smoothly.

The cooperator committee has been hard at work organizing the first AETA shipment of embryos to Kazakhstan. Approximately 150 embryos from more than 10 different AETA members will be included in this shipment. Thanks to everyone involved for continuing to keep the AETA at the forefront of the international marketplace and the representation of US genetics.

I think it is safe to say the AETA is a strong and stable organization. There are so many other efforts going on behind the scenes, there isn’t enough time to point them all out. It is clear to me that our members care about the current and future status of this profession. I know everyone is busy and it is not always easy to take time away from work or family to answer that e-mail or return that phone call. But the passion for what we do drives us to continue to push our organization forward. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Respectfully

Michael Pugh

Evidence-based ET: Does the inclusion of sucrose in EG freezing medium improve embryo survival and pregnancy rates?

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Published on: June 17, 2014

Evidence-based ET

John F. Hasler

Does the inclusion of sucrose in EG freezing medium improve embryo survival and pregnancy rates?

As pointed out previously in this column, efficacious cryopreservation of bovine embryos is critical to the commercial ET industry because, as has been the case for some years now, more than 70% of embryos collected in the US are frozen, while fewer than 30% are transferred fresh. Following the published report of Voelkel and Hu in 1992 on cryopreservation with EG, the commercial bovine ET industry rather quickly switched from glycerol to EG as the major cryoprotectant in freezing media. The overall percentage of embryos frozen in EG rose rapidly starting in 1992 and reached 97% in 2008, the last year that the AETA collected data on this specific statistic.

Several companies provide 1.5 M EG freezing media with or without the inclusion of 0.1 M sucrose. The question posed here is whether including sucrose in the freezing medium makes any difference. In the normal range of ambient temperatures under which most embryos are placed in freezing media and loaded into straws, sucrose does not enter the cells.  Although sucrose readily diffuses through the zona, it remains outside the cells and, at the relatively low concentration of 0.1 M, exerts a mild osmotic imbalance, thereby pulling some water out of the cells. Whether this improves embryo survival is in question and may, in fact, be somewhat related to embryo stage of development. (more…)

2014 Recipient of the IETS Distinguished Service Award: Dr. John F. Hasler

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Published on: June 17, 2014

 

HaslerDr. John F. Hasler obtained BS and MA degrees from the University of Missouri followed by 2 years in the US Army, and then a PhD from the University of Illinois, where he studied reproduction of the collared lem­ming, a very seasonal breeder.  One of his mentors in Illinois was Phillip Dziuk, who received the IETS Pioneer Award in 2001.

After his PhD, Dr. Hasler spent 3 years as a postdoctoral student/research associate at the Bovine Embryo Transfer Laboratory at Colorado State University, where he participated in many research projects concerning embryo transfer, including the relationship of blood progesterone concen­trations and pregnancy rates in embryo transfer recipients.  In 1977, he and his young family moved to Canada, where he worked in commercial embryo transfer.

In 1979, he and Dr. Alan McCauley started the company EmTran Inc. in Pennsylvania. For the next 22 years, EmTran was a dominant player in commercial embryo transfer in the United States, pioneering applications including splitting embryos, simplifying procedures for cryopreserving embryos, genotyping and sexing embryos, and especially in vitro fertiliza­tion, the latter resulting in the third most cited paper in the history of the journal Theriogenology. Procedures for improving superovulation and extensive analyses of pregnancy rates with varying asynchrony of donor/recipi­ent estrus were studied and published. In fact, for 2 decades, the numerous publications from EmTran set the industry standard for comprehensiveness, reliability, and sharing of information. Many veterinarians worked at EmTran and EmTran West, a California branch, and a number of them subsequently established their own suc­cessful embryo transfer practices.

Dr. Hasler provided his services to IETS on numerous occasions.  To date, he has never missed any of the 40 an­nual meetings. He served 2 terms on the Board of Governors, in each case as Secretary/Treasurer. He was chair or co-chair of 3 IETS meetings, and was an invited speaker at 6 annual meetings.  He similarly served the Amer­ican Embryo Transfer Association in a number of capacities, and received their Embryo Transfer Person of the Year Award in 1993.  He also has represented the embryo transfer industry repeatedly by giving many dozens of talks at other meetings.

In 2001, EmTran Inc. was sold, and John and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Colorado where he was employed as director of research for the company XY Inc., which was developing practical procedures for sexing semen.  In recent years, he has worked nearly full time as a technical consultant for Bioniche Inc., and he regularly writes columns for the AETA and CETA newsletters. He also continues to assist with research projects at Colorado State University on a regular basis.

Dr. Hasler is clearly an engaged proponent of our industry, who has helped in any capacity requested. He is a most worthy recipient of the 2014 IETS Distinguished Service Award.

IETS 40th Annual Conference

 

Practice Tip: Saving embryos from exploded straws

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Published on: June 17, 2014

Anyone who has transferred a sizable amount of embryos has surely had one blow up.  In an attempt to salvage these situations, we employ the use of a test tube filled with flush media to thaw the straw in.  These polypropylene tubes are filled with flush media, placed in the thaw bath, and allowed to come to thaw temperature.  After an air thaw of 5 seconds, the straw is placed into the test tube and held there for 15 seconds.  If we do have a cotton plug blow out the bottom the tube is taking into the lab (or when on farm a frenzy of activity ensues as we hurry to set up the microscope in the back of the suburban) and the test tube is poured out and rinsed into a search dish.  Occasionally we will have to rinse the straw out to locate the embryo.  Once located the embryo is placed into holding media, washed, loaded, and transferred.  I would estimate that 75% of the time we do recover the embryo and salvage an otherwise unfortunate situation.  We have definitely seen pregnancies made with these embryos but I have not tracked the pregnancy rate to know if there is any negative effect.

If we do run into a mating or freeze code that we’ve had problems with (or we don’t have a microscope with us), we will try to prevent a blow up by removing the straw top during the air thaw.  This is accomplished by pinching around where the straw top is plugged into the straw (thus thawing it out with body heat) and removing the straw top before going into the test tube.

The ultimate way to prevent blown straws is to make sure they are loaded properly by completely saturating the cotton plug with cryoprotectant and having no air space at the other end between the cryoprotectant and the straw top, but that discussion is for another day.

 

International Cow Fertility Conference Review and Abstract

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Published on: June 17, 2014

I recently had the good fortune of being able to attend the New Science-New Practice Bovine Fertility Conference held by the British Society for Animal Science (BSAS) in Westport, Ireland.  This was an extremely well attended event with an impressive list of over 450 delegates representing countries throughout the world.

There was an international cast of speakers including Stephan LeBlanc, Gabriel Bo, Patrick Lonergan, Stephen Butler, and others and we were well represented from the U.S. by Richard Pursley, Jose Santos, Paul Fricke, Matt Lucy, George Seidel, Peter Hansen, and Milo Wiltbank.

The conference covered all aspects of bovine fertility with a particular emphasis on genetics and reproductive physiology.  A recurring theme throughout the program was the importance of progesterone on multiple aspects of bovine reproduction.  From post-partum estrous dynamics to follicular development and LH pulses, multiple speakers detailed the importance of this hormone both in the main sessions and the ET workshop. With permission from BSAS we have reprinted an abstract (below) from Dr. Wiltbank detailing some of the effects of progesterone on cattle reproduction.

Kevin A. Lindell DVM,MS

Immediate Past President, AETA

(more…)

New Educational Link on Dairy Cattle Reproduction

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Published on: June 17, 2014

A new link has been set up in the Educational Materials section of the AETA website directing viewers to: http://www.dairycattlereproduction.com.  This website is a reference guide produced at Michigan State University and it is designed to promote better understanding of dairy cattle reproduction and fertility programs.  The site contains some amazing 3D animations of follicular development during the estrous cycle and during a synchronization program.  And there are ultrasound videos of the ovarian follicular development during the cycle which greatly help relate the animation to a real life clinical exam.  There is more: ultrasound videos of embryonic/fetal development between 29 and 75 days of gestation and printable calendars of dairy cattle fertility programs.  And there is also a list of recent publications by the MSU dairy reproduction scientists.

This website is a great, practical reference for anyone interested in dairy cattle reproduction.  You should check it out today!

Articles of Interest

Categories: Research Publications
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Published on: June 17, 2014

Effects of maternal nutrient restriction followed by realimentation during midgestation on uterine blood flow in beef cows

http://www.theriojournal.com/article/S0093-691X(14)00102-2/abstract

 

Development rate and gene expression of IVP bovine embryos cocultured with bovine oviduct epithelial cells at early or late stage of preimplantation development

http://www.theriojournal.com/article/S0093-691X(14)00045-4/abstract

 

In vitro production of small ruminant embryos: Late improvements and further research

http://www.theriojournal.com/article/S0093-691X(14)00076-4/abstract

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