Genetic screening for equine embryos takes leap forward

Feb 24, 2010
By staff
Mount Horeb, Wis. -- The ability to choose certain genetic traits in equine embryo transfer just took a giant step forward.

In late January, the first foal was born whose embryo had been biopsied, vitrified (underwent a rapid freezing process) and transferred into a surrogate mare. These steps in the embryo development process are necessary for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) that allows, through biopsy, the testing of embryos for certain traits such as sex, coat color and genetic diseases as well as desirable genetics from the stallion and mare.

The foal, Biopsita, was born at Minitube International Center for Biotechnology in Mount Horeb, Wis. The researchers involved in this scientific breakthrough will present their findings at the 10th International Symposium on Equine Reproduction held July 26 to 30 in Lexington, Ky.

Biopsita, the newborn foal, and the mother, Lola, are doing well.