Cellular factors influencing the developmental potential of pure and hybrid bison
Assisted reproductive technologies can provide unique alternatives for wildlife managers interested in preserving genetically valuable individuals. The Canadian wood bison, currently listed as threatened, will benefit greatly from the use of in vitro fertilization and embryo banking as a method for producing genetically healthy, disease‐free herds. However, minimal or non‐existent knowledge of the fundamental aspects of reproductive biology has limited the success of reproductive technologies in non‐domestic species. This project will investigate basic mechanisms of early embryo development, including energy production, in an effort to better understand species‐specific differences that influence developmental outcome following in vitro embryo production. The data obtained will provide necessary information for optimizing bison embryo growth in vitro so that good quality embryos can be produced and preserved. This internship will allow Toronto Zoo to investigate important parameters involved in embryo development that would otherwise not be possible due to lack of appropriate equipment and expertise. Access to PCR equipment, epifluorescence microscopes and digital imaging systems will allow improved analysis of embryos.