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Pregnancies and piglets from large white sow recipients after two transfer methods of cloned and transgenic embryos of different pig breeds

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by M Schmidt, P Kragh, J Li, Y Du, L Lin, Y Liu, I Bøgh, K Winther, Gabor Vajta, H Callesen
The aim of this study was to report from a larger study with pregnancy and delivery results after transfer of cloned transgenic/non-transgenic Large White or minipig embryos to Large White sow recipients. The effect of both total numbers of transferred embryos as well as site of their deposition (uni- vs. bi-lateral) was studied. Four to five days after natural heat, 85 Large White (LW) sows received Day 5 or 6 handmade cloned embryos. Large White embryos were non-transgenic and were transferred to 36 recipients, while 49 recipients each received Minipig embryos, either non-transgenic or with 1 of 4 types of transgenes. Furthermore, the number of embryos transferred was in two categories, as 46 recipients received 40–60 embryos while 39 received 60–120 embryos. Finally, in 59 of the recipients embryos were transferred to one of the uterine horns (unicornual) while 26 other recipients had embryos transferred to both uterine horns (bicornual). The overall pregnancy rate was 55% with an abortion rate of 26% resulting in 41% deliveries with no difference between LW and Minipig embryos and no difference between transgenic and non-transgenic Minipig embryos. Transfer of 60–120 embryos resulted in more pregnancies and deliveries (62%) than <60 embryos (24%). The mean litter size was 5.1 ± 0.5 and after transfer of 60–120 embryos significantly higher (6.0 ± 0.5) than after transfer of <60 embryos (3.5 ± 0.8). Also, the bicornual transfer resulted in significantly higher delivery rate (74% vs. 44%) and mean litter size (6.1 ± 0.7 vs. 4.2 ± 0.6) than the unicornual. The mean rate of piglets/transferred embryos was 7.3 ± 0.6% while the mean rate of piglets/reconstructed embryos was 179/18,000 = 1% with no difference between breeds or number of embryos transferred. The overall perinatal mortality rate was 49%, and it was significantly lower in LW piglets (20/59 = 34%) than in Minipiglets (67/120 = 56%) (vs. 10–15% in normal piglets at the farm) and the total rate of piglets with one or more malformation was 22%, and lower in LW (12%) than in Minipiglets (28%). This study demonstrate that although the perinatal mortality was rather high, an acceptable birth rate can be achieved after transfer to LW recipients of cloned LW embryos as well as cloned, transgenic/non-transgenic Minipig embryos. Furthermore, the pregnancy rate and litter size were correlated to the number of embryos transferred and to bicornual transfer.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)






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Elsevier Inc.



Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Aarhus universitet; BGI-Shenzhen; Københavns universitet; Landbrug & Fødevarer; Not affiliated to a Research Institute; Novo Nordisk;

Era Eligible

  • Yes