Twin Calf Production in Water Buffaloes Following Non-Surgical Transfer of in vitro-produced-vitrified Embryos
Danilda Hufana-Duran*1,3,4, Prudencio B. Pedro1,2, Apolinario L. Salazar Jr.1,
Hernando V. Venturina1, Peregrino G. Duran1, Yoshiyuki Takahashi3,
Yukio Kanai4, and Libertado C. Cruz1
1Philippine Carabao Center, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, 3120 Philippines
2Benguet State University, La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines
3Laboratory of Theriogenology, Department of Veterinary and Clinical Sciences,
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060-0818 Japan
4Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences,
University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8572 Japan
Twinning in buffalo cows is only about 0.01%. Effecting twin pregnancies by transferring more than one embryo of different developmental stages was tested. Cumulus-oocyte complexes collected from slaughterhouse-derived ovaries were matured and fertilized in vitro. Presumptive zygotes were cultured, on Day 6-7, developed blastocysts stage embryos were removed, frozen by vitrification, and stored in liquid nitrogen. After 2 to 5 months, 130 embryos were warmed; 72 were cultured in vitro to test for viability while 58 were non-surgically transferred in two's (n= 20 recipients) or three's (n = 6 recipients) to 26 buffalo cows. No significant difference was observed on post-warming survival rate of the embryos at different developmental stages with 85-88% hatched within 72 h of in vitro culture. Embryo transfer resulted to birth of one twin (3.8%) and five single births (19.2%) presenting 23.1% (6/26) calving rate. This demonstrates the possibility of enhancing twinning in buffaloes by embryo transfer techniques.
Twinning can be used to improve profitability in the beef industry (Guerra-Martinez et al. 1990; Herd et al. 1993). Natural twinning occurs in cattle with an up to 4% (Cady & Van Vleck 1978) and increase to 9% (Kinsel et al. 1998) following intensive management. Rose & Wilton (1991) reported a considerable increase in return out of milk production. In water buffalo, 0.01% pregnancies produce twins (Fisher & Adenil 1956). Fischer (1964) contended that twinning rate in Egyptian water buffaloes is 0.2%, in Indonesian Swamp buffaloes is 0.0002%, and in Malaysia is 0.0003%. Chaudhary (1989) reported <0.3% twinning in Nili Ravi buffaloes, while Kandasamy et al. (1989) reported 0.062% in Murrah buffaloes.
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