ABSTRACT: Since the high prevalence of bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis in free-ranging wood bison in the Canadian north poses a threat to nearby healthy bison populations, commercial bison and cattle ranches, and potentially to humans, there is considerable impetus to salvage the genetics of infected bison and maintain a disease-free herd. In that regard, there is a great need to develop appropriate reproductive technologies. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop protocols to produce and cryopreserve wood bison embryos (based on protocols used for cattle). Cumulus oocyte complexes (COC) aspirated from ovaries recovered after slaughter were matured in vitro, and fertilized with either frozen-thawed semen or chilled epididymal spermatozoa. Although both sources of spermatozoa resulted in acceptable rates of fertilization (64.4%, n=45; 89.2%, n=28, respectively) and cleavage (75.0%, n=40; 92.5%, n=40), production of morulae (7.5%, n=40; 25.0%, n=40) and blastocysts (7.5%, n=40; 10.0%, n=40) was low. Morulae- and blastocyst-stage embryos were frozen-stored by vitrification. To our knowledge, this is the first report regarding the in vitro production and cryopreservation of bison embryos for genetic recovery of diseased wood bison. These techniques have substantial potential for conserving and managing the genetic diversity of wild bison, and may also have important management implications for genetic salvage of diseased bison populations in North America.
Theriogenology 08/2007; 68(1):93-9. · 1.96 Impact Factor