Catching Up: Dr. Clifton Murphy (Doc Murph) at 90!

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Published on: June 17, 2016

Murphy_PhotoI’m writing in response to AETA’s questions regarding how I am doing. I shall try to answer these below.

I am old, and I do not like it. A Biblical quote: “Old men shall dream dreams and the young shall have visions.” I am dreaming dreams about the future. I was born July 9, 1926.

What am I the most proud of:

  • My family
  • My friends: you get to choose your friends—one of the most important choices one can make
  • My military service: no hero—medical service USS LST
  • My older brother: Lt. Dean Murphy, USMC Iwo Jima—resting in Jefferson Barracks
  • My twin brother: injured in World War II
  • My education: BSc Agri, DVM Mo ‘52, MSc Colo. ’60, Post Postdoc, U MO, current
  • My honorary life membership in AETA.
  • The Clifton N. Murphy Scholarship fund in Animal Reproduction–U MO.

What people do not know about Doc Murph:

  • Yes, my life is an “open book,” but we will skip some pages.
  • I have a twin brother: no one attempted to tell us apart, never used a given name, just “one of the Murphy twins” until we left home.
  • I helped design and construct three small animal hospitals. The last one was almost perfect—drive-up window and direct entrance—car to exam rooms.
  • In 1990, my first IVF calf was born on Christmas Eve—so we called him Jesus.
  • In my lifetime, I have made more money in the stock market than I have working.
  • When I was 65, I moved from Vet Med to Animal Science to Randy Prather’s Cloning Lab. This experience has opened new thinking about what can be done in the repro world.

What changes have occurred in the ET world in the last 50 years:

  • When I first started ET, there were no stars or moon and the sun was very small—long, long ago.
  • From surgical to nonsurgical was the first important step. Use of ultrasound—see what you feel.
  • Prostaglandin to control estrus cycle. But there is no control of the oocytes to mature and form the cohort of oocytes that become super ovulated; why are there so many unfertilized oocytes (UFOs)?
  • The freezing of embryos has been so important for storage and better use of recipient cattle.

What if? Future thinking

Before one can plan on making changes there is required reading: “The Whistle” (You paid too much for the whistle) by Benjamin Franklin. Read it, but the take-home message is that the method may cost more than the worth of the results.

  • The oocyte—IVF–OPU–oocytes can be collected easier than embryos. But better methods of culture, fertilization, and freezing must be found. The collection of oocytes in young calves via laparoscope would also be of interest.
  • Follicle oocyte transfer (FOT) may become practicable.
  • Many years ago we had the cell block—could not culture anything past the 4- or 8-cell stage—but that passed.
  • What if? It is time to think about the collection and care of the oocyte.

It is time to close; it has been a nice visit—90 years. Thanks to all of you for being my friends and helping on that road of life.

Don’t forget to smile and stop to smell the roses—no ET cow is worth family time.

Doc Murph

BEEF Article from February 1990 Featuring Dr. Murphy

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