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The potential for modification in cloning and vitrification technology to enhance genetic progress in beef cattle in Northern Australia

Taylor-Robinson, Andrew W., Walton, Simon, Swain, David L., Walsh, Kerry B., Vajta, Gábor
Animal reproduction science 2014 v.148 no.3-4 pp. 91-96
application methods, beef, beef cattle, beef industry, cattle breeding, clones, cryopreservation, embryology, genetic improvement, herds, in vitro fertilization, progeny, reproductive performance, somatic cells, stakeholders, vitrification, Australia
Recent advances in embryology and related research offer considerable possibilities to accelerate genetic improvement in cattle breeding. Such progress includes optimization and standardization of laboratory embryo production (in vitro fertilization – IVF), introduction of a highly efficient method for cryopreservation (vitrification), and dramatic improvement in the efficiency of somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) in terms of required effort, cost, and overall outcome. Handmade cloning (HMC), a simplified version of somatic cell nuclear transfer, offers the potential for relatively easy and low-cost production of clones. A potentially modified method of vitrification used at a centrally located laboratory facility could result in cloned offspring that are economically competitive with elite animals produced by more traditional means. Apart from routine legal and intellectual property issues, the main obstacle that hampers rapid uptake of these technologies by the beef cattle industry is a lack of confidence from scientific and commercial sources. Once stakeholder support is increased, the combined application of these methods makes a rapid advance toward desirable traits (rapid growth, high-quality beef, optimized reproductive performance) a realistic goal. The potential impact of these technologies on genetic advancement in beef cattle herds in which improvement of stock is sought, such as in northern Australia, is hard to overestimate.