Research Update: Does the number of ova in a culture group impact embryo development?

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Published on: December 6, 2022

Texas Tech University – School of Veterinary Medicine

John Gibbons, Jessica Looman, Lyric Waugh, Zowie Rodriguez

  • Oocytes were recovered from slaughterhouse ovaries
  • Oocytes matured in groups of 10 (50 μL drops) for 18 – 20 hours
  • Oocytes randomly allocated to 500 μL wells (50 / well) and comingled with colloid prepared frozen / thawed sperm from a single bull for 18 – 20 hours
  • Presumptive zygotes cultured for 6-7 days in randomly assigned groups of 5, 10, or 20 (50 μL drops) over three replicates
  • Embryo cleavage and development to the blastocysts stage evaluated

Results:

Bovine In Vitro Embryo Cleavage and Development to the Blastocyst Stage for Slaughterhouse Ova Cultured (50 mL drops) in Groups of 5, 10, and 20.

Culture GroupPercent CleavedPercent BlastocystStatistics
563.0 ± 0.05 (63 / 100)19.0 ± 0.04 (19 / 100)NS
1054.4 ± 0.05 (49 / 90)20.0 ± 0.04 (18 / 90)NS
2066.0 ± 0.05 (66 /100)22.0 ± 0.04 (22 / 100)NS

Conclusion:

Although very preliminary, it appears that the number of ova, 5, 10 or 20, cultured in 50 μL culture drops does not impact embryo cleavage rate or development to the blastocysts stage of ova recovered from slaughterhouse ovaries.  Future research will evaluate the existence of a “helper effect” among ova within a culture environment, by manipulating the size of the culture environment, or by allowing exchange of small molecules (< 75 μm) among ova that are physically separated by a barrier but within the same culture environment.

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