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The first piglets and calves are born in the UMU by means of a more natural method of in vitro fertilization (11/10/2018)

The first animals produced in vitro by means of a culture medium patented by the Physiology of Reproduction group of the University of Murcia (UMU) have already been born and are in the Farm of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

"A year ago we obtained the first embryos, and now we have obtained living descendants after their transfer", explains the researcher Pilar Coy Fuster. Now, the researchers intend to seek patronage to create a sanctuary with the born calves and piglets.

"The objective is to have these unique specimens in the world under the best possible feeding and management conditions, and, in this way, to carry out a long-term follow-up of their growth, metabolism, epigenetic and gene expression markers, and state of health. in general, "adds the principal investigator. The study of these specimens will have an impact on the improvement of assisted reproduction techniques not only in animals but also in the human species.

"Currently, it is impossible to investigate this issue in people, since the first 'test-tube' has just turned 40 and therefore can not predict what will happen when this population ages," says Coy.

Likewise, the Murcian group has received requests from other German and British teams to collaborate in the study of these valuable specimens. A natural method to be born healthier This method of the UMU uses a more natural culture to find out if the animals are born healthier and with less risk of diseases in adulthood.

"The novelty lies in the use of natural fluids in the composition instead of recombinant proteins, which is the most frequent," says researcher Pilar Coy.

Experts are examining whether these fluids, which have numerous proteins, growth factors and nutrients, have a positive impact on health.

If confirmed, the results could be extrapolated to the human species. In particular, these fluids are found inside the reproductive system of animals during fertilization (oviductal fluid or tubal) and the first days of embryo development, before the placenta (uterine fluid) is implanted and formed.

The next step is to compare 3 groups of 8 calves born with this method, without it and naturally.

In the same way, the researchers have managed to have 20 piglets born from each of the three study groups. The project has been possible thanks to the cession of the recipient females for the embryo transfers by the CEFUSA companies, for the piglets , and El Barranquillo for the calves, in addition to the collaboration of the Veterinary Anatomy group of the UMU and the INIA of Madrid.

Likewise, the funding comes from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (the Challenges Program), from the SENECA foundation of the Region of Murcia (Program of Groups of Excellence), and from the European Union (Horizon 2020 Program).

Source: Universidad de Murcia

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