In vitro and in vivo developmental capabilities and kinetics of in vitro development of in vitro matured oocytes from adult, unstimulated and hormone-stimulated prepubertal ewes

Katherine M. Morton, Sally L. Catt, W. M.Chis Maxwell, Gareth Evans

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The in vitro and in vivo developmental capabilities and kinetics of in vitro development of embryos derived from adult ewes and from unstimulated (16- to 24-week-old) and hormone-stimulated prepubertal (3- to 5-week-old) ewes were assessed. Cleavage was lower for hormone-stimulated (617/1025; 60.2%) than unstimulated prepubertal (117/169; 69.2%) and adult ewe oocytes (184/267; 68.9%; P < 0.05). Blastocyst formation by Day 7 (from zygotes) was similar for unstimulated (45/117; 38.5%), hormone-stimulated prepubertal (229/617; 37.1%) and adult ewes (101/184; 54.9%). Blastocysts derived from hormone-stimulated prepubertal ewes developed mainly on day 7, compared with Day 6 for adult and unstimulated prepubertal ewes. Pregnancy rates (day 60) and embryonic loss (between Days 20 and 60) did not differ after transfer to adult recipient ewes of adult, unstimulated and hormone-stimulated prepubertal-derived fresh or frozen-thawed embryos. The number of lambs born as a proportion of embryos transferred did not differ for fresh and frozen embryos derived from adult ewes (3/16; 18.8% and 1/12; 8.3%, respectively) and unstimulated prepubertal lambs (2/6; 33.3%, and 1/10; 10.0%, respectively), but was higher for fresh than frozen embryos from hormone-stimulated prepubertal ewes (7/16; 43.8%, and 2/14; 14.3%, respectively; P < 0.05). There were high rates of in vitro and in vivo development of oocytes from 3- to 5-week-old lambs, but in vitro development was lower than with oocytes from adult ewes. However, the speed of embryonic development in vitro and the in vivo development of fresh and frozen embryos were similar to those derived from adult and unstimulated prepubertal ewes. The present results were an improvement in the efficiency of producing embryos and offspring from hormone-stimulated 3- to 5-week-old lambs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1320-1332
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Embryo cryopreservation
  • Ewe
  • Lamb
  • Oocyte

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