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UC Davis Student Chapter 2013
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UC Davis University
Society for Theriogenology Club 2013

Dr. Katrin Hinrichs gave a knowledgeable and interesting presentation on advanced equine reproductive technologies to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.  She began with a review of basic embryo development, and ended with her latest research in advanced technologies.  She discussed, in detail, topics such as embryo transfer, embryo biopsy, embryo cryopreservation, ultrasound guided follicle aspirate, collection of oocytes post mortem, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, and nuclear transfer (cloning).  She explained each process, how the techniques are performed, how each made a significant impact on theriogenology, and how the results differ in young versus aged mares.  Not only did she discuss the technologies used for mares, but also those used for cows due to some differences in reproductive anatomy.            

Dr. Hinrichs emphasized that the goal of these technologies and research is really to find out which methods produce healthy foals.  For instance, when cloning horses, because the oocyte has to "reset” many genes, there are generally more opportunities for deformities and abnormalities.   Oocytes take DNA of skin cells, sort through all the genes, and turn specific genes on and off.  According to Dr. Hinrichs’s research, fifty percent of foals produced from cloning were born with weakness/maladjustment, contracted tendons, or an enlarged umbilicus, and two out of fourteen foals died neonatally in one study.  One hypothesis for these abnormalities is problems with the placenta.  For instance, in cattle, they are observed to have a large reduction in caruncle number and they are much bigger in size.  However, not much information is known and much research has still yet to be done.

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