In mammals, the sperm determines the sex of the resulting offspring. Semen sexing is a process whereby sperm are sorted into Y- (male) or X-chromosome (female) bearing gametes. Sexed semen may be used for artificial insemination or in vitro embryo production to create offspring of a desired sex. In a zoo setting, fewer males are required because of their ability to breed multiple females. A collaborative effort between the University of Saskatchewan and the Toronto Zoo has been resulted in the birth of live wood bison calves from in vitro embryo production, cryopreservation, and embryo transfer. The objective of this project is to produce bison sexed (female) semen for use in both in vitro and in vivo embryo production at the University of Saskatchewan. The female embryos will then be cryopreserved and transported to the Toronto Zoo where they will be transferred to surrogate bison to produce live bison calves. This Mitacs internship with the Toronto Zoo will not only produce the first female bison calves from sex-sorted semen, but will also serve as proof-of-concept for the advancement of a bison germplasm biobank for both conservation and commercial application.
Eric Matthew Zwiefelhofer
Arts, entertainment and recreation
University of Saskatchewan
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