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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: In vitro manipulation of mammalian gametes and embryos: what are we learning from animal settings

item Feugang, Jean
item Willard, Scott
item Ryan, Peter

Submitted to: Journal of Fertilization:In Vitro
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2012
Publication Date: 5/18/2012
Citation: Feugang, J.M., Willard, S.T., Ryan, P.L. 2012. In vitro manipulation of mammalian gametes and embryos: What are we learning from animal settings? Journal of Fertilization:In Vitro. 2:114.

Interpretive Summary: Biophotonic imaging has been applied in numerous areas of biology and biomedicine. In our laboratory, we believe that this technology could be used for a non invasive real-time monitoring of various aspects of animal reproduction. The current setting of assisted reproduction results in low efficiencies, in term of producing high quality and viable embryos for transfer to recipients. These results indicate the complexity of early embryo development, which associated molecular mechanisms are still not well understood. We are currently developing a pioneer work to introduce biophotonic imaging in the reproductive biology that will contribute to enhance our understanding of gamete functions and embryo development. Therefore and based upon our preliminary findings, the current paper aimed at purposing this new imaging technology as a potential approach for functional analyses of gametes interactions and early embryo development.

Technical Abstract: Since the birth of the first baby conceived by in vitro fertilization (Louise Brown) in 1978, significant progress has been achieved in the application of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in clinical settings. A significant accumulation of knowledge obtained through various research endeavors involving small (rodents) and/or large (farm) animals has made these achievements possible. Nevertheless, the major challenge of ART remains the collection of high quality mammalian gametes produced by female and male gonads through complex events called oogenesis (in ovaries) and spermatogenesis (in testes), respectively. The successful interaction of both mature gametes forms a diploid cell (zygote) which develops, through successive mitosis, into a multi-cellular embryo (e.g., blastocyst) that is transferrable to a female recipient. The current application of ART has the potential to negatively affect the quality of both, gametes and embryos. This is partially due to the sub-optimal conditions of culture systems whose immediate and long term developmental consequences are still not well-characterized. The aim of this editorial is to highlight lessons that have been learned through ART in animals that have contributed to improve assisted reproductive outcomes in humans.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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