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In vitro production of small ruminant embryos: Late improvements and further research

de Souza-Fabjan, Joanna Maria Gonçalves, Panneau, Barbara, Duffard, Nicolas, Locatelli, Yann, de Figueiredo, José Ricardo, de Figueirêdo Freitas, Vicente José, Mermillod, Pascal
Theriogenology 2014 v.81 no.9 pp. 1149-1162
animal ovaries, biotechnology, embryogenesis, females, humans, in vitro fertilization, livestock and meat industry, marker-assisted selection, oocytes, small ruminants, transgenesis
Beyond the potential use of in vitro production of embryos (IVP) in breeding schemes, embryos are also required for the establishment of new biotechnologies such as cloning and transgenesis. Additionally, the knowledge of oocyte and embryo physiology acquired through IVP techniques may stimulate the further development of other techniques such as marker assisted and genomic selection of preimplantation embryos, and also benefit assisted procreation in human beings. Efficient in vitro embryo production is currently a major objective for livestock industries, including small ruminants. The heterogeneity of oocytes collected from growing follicles by laparoscopic ovum pick up or in ovaries of slaughtered females, remains an enormous challenge for IVM success, and still limits the rate of embryo development. In addition, the lower quality of the IVP embryos, compared with their in vivo–derived counterparts, translates into poor cryosurvival, which restricts the wider use of this promising technology. Therefore, many studies have been reported in an attempt to determine the most suitable conditions for IVM, IVF, and in vitro development to maximize embryo production rate and quality. This review aims to present the current panorama of IVP production in small ruminants, describing important steps for its success, reporting the recent advances and also the main obstacles identified for its improvement and dissemination.