Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Animal Science

First Advisor

Gastal, Eduardo

Abstract

The mammalian ovary contains a vast reserve of oocytes, most of which are enclosed within preantral follicles. A Biopsy Pick-Up (BPU) method was tested to determine the feasibility of retrieving preantral follicles from mare ovaries in vivo. BPU fragments were collected from 5 to 21 yr old mares during the breeding season and processed using a tissue chopper, submitted to histological analysis or submitted to in vitro culture for 1 or 7 days. In conclusion, the BPU method is a reliable way to repeatedly harvest large numbers of viable, morphologically normal preantral follicles from living mares without affecting ovarian function or general reproductive health. Additionally, equine preantral follicles undergo development and growth when submitted to in vitro culture in α-MEM for 7 days, with some follicles maintaining morphological normality throughout. These technologies could be used in the future to enable the use of numerous oocytes present within the equine ovary to preserve genetic material or for large-scale embryo production.

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