Technologies

Production In Vitro (PIV):

 

In Vitro Production is a reproductive process of developing embryos from oocytes, and fertilizing the eggs with semen in a laboratory dish. After cultivation, fresh embryos can be transferred to surrogate cows; or can be conserved in liquid nitrogen indefinitely, using a cryogenic preservation.

This is a tool that offers new perspectives for the acceleration of genetic progress. This technique is practiced with intensive rhythms of collection on pregnant or empty females, regardless of their reproductive condition. In Vitro Fertilization represents an alternative to produce and transfer high quality embryos at lower prices, over conventional In Vivo Embryo collection. The use of low temperatures to preserve embryos produced by this technology has become an indispensable tool that will consolidate and increase the impact of these technologies.

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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure:

 

In Vitro Fertilization procedure makes use of oocytes collected from elite donors (cows, heifers or calves) by ultrasound guided follicular aspiration. The oocytes are matured and fertilized with semen, in a petri dish 20-24 hours later. It is common for the use of sexed semen in the process for fertilization. The oocytes are further developed in an incubator for 7 days (blastocyst stage). Finally, embryos can be transferred to the uterus in a synchronized surrogate cow 7 days after heat, or elite embryos are frozen through a vitrification process to be transferred at a later time.

In Vitro Fertilization

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Advantages and benefits of IVF

  • In dairy breeds: increase the average productivity per cow, selection pressure by the production of embryos from the best mothers.

  • In beef breeds: higher weight gain due to efficiency in converting food, resulting in better meat quality and carcass yield.

  • IVF makes it possible to rapidly multiply and breed genetically superior cattle within a short generation interval, multiplying pre-selected females.

  • Increases efficiency of multiplication in breeding, permits sex determination of the offspring and pre-test of actual fertility status of the bull.

  • Use of sexed embryos, resulting in intended sex births.

  • Genetics selection based on male and female.

  • Improves pregnancy rates in lactating cows.

  • Lowers costs: importation of live dairy cattle can initially cost P150,000 to P180,000 per animal.

  • No quarantine needed: animals are born in the country.

  • Generates potential to create a local breed and market it worldwide for beef and dairy cows.

  • Develops a Genetic Jump: time needed to improve genetics decreases exponentially.

  • Proven Technology: used in all parts of Latin America, USA, Europe, South Africa, Australia and China; the Philippines will be the first one in South East Asia.

Embryo Transfer (ET):

 

The most common use of embryo transfer programs is for the multiplication of desirable phenotypes. The more basic technique of artificial insemination (A.I.) has enabled the broad dissemination of genetic potential of males, while embryo transfer provides the opportunity to disseminate superior genetic of females and males.

ET technique was developed with the aim of increasing the reproductive potential of genetically elite animals. By ET we can get as many as 50 offspring of females from one donor, based on selection of their genetic potential, phenotypic characteristics and production records. In this way, we accelerate genetic progress to the selected biotype, to produce males for AI, new generations of donors for ET, replacement females, asides from producing bulls that farmers will use as breeding stock for sale or for commercial cattle without buying.

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Embryo Transfer (ET) procedure:

 

Embryo transfer technique consists of immobilizing the surrogate cow in a livestock crush, checking the animal’s reproductive status and transferring the embryo transvaginally.

Prior to thawing straws containing the embryo, and to avoid delays in transfers, the surrogate cows must be reviewed to distinguish which cows are in good condition to receive the embryos after heat synchronization.

The classification of recipients is organized by the result of the review of their ovarian status at the time of transfer. The cow is examined with ultrasound equipment to identify the size and location of corpus luteum. The relationship between the amount of luteal tissue with progesterone production, and the amount secreted in the blood are related with pregnancy rates. The embryo is then thawed and transferred to the ipsilateral uterine horn to the corpus luteum.

Embryo Transfer

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Advantages and benefits of ET

  • In beef breeds: increase productivity, in terms of quality and kilograms of meat per animal, selecting cattle for efficient operating and market conditions.

  • In dairy breeds: increase the production of milk, fat and protein needed by industry, and extend the life of cows through improvements in strength and functional type, adapted to the management system.

  • Increase production of genetically superior females.

  • Increase the use of sperm with high genetic and economic value.

  • Control and prevention of infectious diseases.

  • Possibility of export and import of superior genetic material.

  • Produce replacement heifers from the upper genetic core.

Requirements for adoption of embryo transfer program

Any improvement in genetic potential and production must be accompanied by improvements in education and technical training of the staff in herd management, feeding, health and infrastructure, and oriented towards maximum productivity and economic efficiency in operating systems.

Specifically, to implement an embryo transfer program, farms and surrogate cows must comply with the following requirements:

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Farms

  • Availability of resources with production facilities and equipment.

  • Adequate and accessible feeds resources.

  • Must establish health programs for the animals.

  • Records for each animal is always necessary (Productive, reproductive, nutritional and health parameters).

  • Seek to integrate a responsible, qualified and committed staff.

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Surrogate Animals

  • Need to be at least 60 days post-calving.

  • Must pass a physical and a reproductive tract exam to assure general health and good reproductive status.

  • Must be fertile animals and cycling cows not exposed to bulls.

  • Needs an examination of the udder for evidence of poor milk producing capacity (beef cattle).

  • Must be of sufficient size and conformation to reduce the chances of calving difficulty.

  • Without uterine abnormalities and no history of calving problems.

  • Heifers can be used in the program if they’ve reached their breeding weight (around 65-70% of mature weight) and are cycling.

  • Animals with temperament problems should be removed from the program.

  • Select animals that maintain or are gaining body condition with an adequate nutritional program.

  • An ideal score of 3.0-4.0 (0-5 scale) is preferred at the time of transferring the embryos.

  • Need to be adapted and kept on the same feeding program for 6 weeks before getting implanted and 8 weeks after.

  • Maintenance under the same management conditions for as long as possible.

  • Identification system is essential; tags must be easy to read.

  • Vaccination protocols must be up to date per health programs in the area.