Biology of reproduction

Birth of piglets derived from porcine zygotes cultured in a chemically defined medium.

PMID 11751272


We evaluated the in vitro development of porcine zygotes that were cultured in a novel culture medium, porcine zygote medium (PZM), under different conditions and compared to in vivo development. The viability of these zygotes to full term after culture was also evaluated by embryo transfer to recipients. Porcine single-cell zygotes were collected from gilts on Day 2 after hCG injection. Culture of zygotes in PZM containing 3 mg/ml of BSA (PZM-3) produced better results in terms of proportion of Day 6 blastocysts, Day 8 hatching rate, and numbers of inner cell mass (ICM) cells and total cells in Day 8 embryos than that in North Carolina State University (NCSU)-23 medium. In culture with PZM-3, embryo development was optimized in an atmosphere of 5% CO2:5% O2:90% N2 compared to 5% CO2 in air. The ICM and total cell numbers in Day 6 embryos cultured in PZM-3 or in PZM-3 in which BSA was replaced with 3 mg/ml of polyvinyl alcohol (PZM-4) were also greater than those of NCSU-23 but less than those developed in vivo. However, no difference was found in the ratio of ICM to total cells among embryos developed in PZM-3, PZM-4, or in vivo. When the Day 6 embryos that developed in PZM-4 (99 embryos) or in vivo (100 embryos) were each transferred into six recipients, no difference was found in the farrowing rate (83.3% for both treatments) and in the number of piglets born (33 and 42 piglets, respectively). Our results indicate that porcine zygotes can develop into blastocysts in a chemically defined medium and to full term by transfer to recipients after culture.

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