Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology


M. C. Abraham A , A. Ruete B and Y. C. B. Brandt A
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A Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Dept. of Clinical Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

B SLU, Dept. of Ecology, Uppsala, Sweden

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 287-287
Published: 8 December 2009


Fertility among cattle breeds can vary. The Swedish Red and White dairy breed (SRB) has been systematically bred for good reproductive traits since 1970 and might therefore have retained a better oocyte quality than other dairy breeds. The aim of this study was to determine if the breed of oocyte donor affects the development of embryos using IVM, IVF, and IVC. Oocyte developmental competence in vitro was compared between the SRB (n = 77 animals), the Swedish Holstein breed (SLB, n = 49), and beef breeds (mixed breeds, n = 97). The oocytes (n = 1380, 18 batches) were aspirated from abattoir-derived ovaries from healthy animals with known identity. Statistical analyses were performed using Student’s t-tests and generalized linear mixed models with random effects. The time of collection in relation to slaughter and time of day, as well as aspiration and the following in vitro procedures, were consistent throughout the experiment. The oocytes were matured, fertilized (frozen semen), and cultured according to conventional protocols without serum. Data are presented as mean ± SEM. The SRB and SLB groups were comparable in age [SRB: 66% cows (over 3 years of age), 27% young cows (calved at least once but not over 3 years of age), and 7% heifers; SLB: 63% cows, 20% young cows, and 17% heifers], carcass classification (scale 1-15, where 15 = highest amount of muscle; SRB: 3.8 ± 0.2, SLB 3.5 ± 0.3), body fat (scale 1-15, where 15 =highest amount of fat; SRB: 8.4 ± 0.4, SLB 8.8 ± 0.5) and kilograms of carcass weight (SRB: 297.3±7.4, SLB: 311.6 ± 9.0). The beef group had a significantly higher mean carcass classification (6.2 ± 0.2) and a different age distribution with a higher proportion of heifers (38% cows, 12% young cows, and 50% heifers), but was comparable in body fat content (8.5 ± 0.4) and kilograms of carcass weight (310.9 ± 7.9). Cleavage rate, number of embryos developed beyond the 2-cell stage by 44 h post-fertilization, and the number of blastocysts developed by Days 7 and 8 were noted. All blastocysts were graded and stained with Hoechst 33 342 and the number of nuclei was determined. Cleavage rate was not different among the breeds (SRB: 71.9 ± 0.03%, SLB: 72.5 ± 0.02%, beef: 73.9 ± 0.03%). The percentage of embryos developed beyond 2-cells (from cleaved) did not differ between the beef and SRB (beef: 65.1 ± 6.1%; SRB: 70.4 ± 4.9%) but SLB was significantly greater than than the other breeds (75.4 ± 4.5%). The percentage of blastocysts developed by Day 8 was significantly higher in the beef (21.1 ± 2.7%) and SRB (23.3 ± 3.5%) breeds compared with the SLB (12.5 ± 2.4%). There was no significant difference in blastocyst grades among breeds (scale 1-4, where 1 = highest grade; SRB: 2.4 ± 0.1, SLB: 2.4 ± 0.2, beef: 2.1 ± 0.2), but the number of nuclei in Day 8 blastocysts was significantly lower in the SLB (SRB: 98.9 ± 7.7, SLB: 79.2 ± 8.7, beef: 101.4 ± 6.9). In conclusion, the breed of origin of the oocytes is an important factors affecting the development during in vitro embryo production in cattle.

Funded by Formas.

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