Optimization of wood bison interspecific somatic cell nuclear transfer and embryo culture for species conservation

Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer (iSCNT) is a promising technique whereby a bison donor cell is transplanted into a domestic cattle oocyte. Different fibroblast donor cells have been demonstrated to have different embryonic outcomes. Problems with SCNT embryos have been also reported after in vitro culture. Toronto Zoo’s efforts have focused on wood bison iSCNT, a threatened Canadian species, in order to conserve its germplasm. Therefore, this project will characterize bison somatic cells used for iSCNT and their potential to achieve successful embryo development; as well as optimize in vitro embryo culture after in vitro fertilization and iSCNT. A novel approach using bison oviductal epithelial cells will be tested to improve in vitro culture. This internship will allow Toronto Zoo to identify any disruptions produced during iSCNT and embryo culture, as well as the implementation of novel embryo culture protocols for non-domestic cattle species. Furthermore, it will provide knowledge for establishing valuable biotechnology systems for biodiversity preservation.

Faculty Supervisor:

Allan King


Amanda Victoria Cordova Gomez


Toronto Zoo




Natural resources


University of Guelph



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