Breakthrough in Equine Reproduction

Lexington, Kentucky - Minitube International has achieved a scientific breakthrough that will allow for genetic testing and preservation of equine embryos. The world's first foal from a biopsied and vitrified embryo transferred into a surrogate mare was born on Wednesday January 27, 2010 at Minitube International Center for Biotechnology in Mount Horeb, WI. Both the mother "Lola" and foal are doing well. The birth of "Biopsita" marks a new era in horse breeding, providing horse breeders with an opportunity to directly test embryos for genetic traits including gender, coat color, genetic diseases, etc., and select desirable genetics from stallion and mare combinations. The study will be presented at the 10th International Symposium on Equine Reproduction being held in Kentucky this July.

According to Mats Troedsson, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT the Director of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky and Director of Equine Research for Minitube International, "Embryo transfer and cryopreservation have been steadily gaining traction in equine reproduction as the technology further develops and the equestrian community adjusts registry requirements. But the ability to genetically screen an equine embryo before transfer would change horse breeding as we know it today. The economics would just make sense."

To make Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) or genetic screening of an equine embryo practical, the embryo needs to be biopsied, vitrified and later transferred into a recipient. Dr. John Dobrinsky, the Executive Director of the Minitube International Center for Biotechnology, credits his team and Minitube's dedication as key to the success. "My scientific team in the lab and the farm staff are one of the best in the world," Dr. Dobrinsky stated. "Seeing that foal walking around the stall is a strong reminder of the scientific advancements that can be made when you combine a stellar team with a strong support environment like the one here at Minitube." Dr. Dobrinsky utilized one of Minitube's recently unveiled commercial products in the study: the EQUIPRO Vit-KitTM, a complete equine direct transfer vitrification kit commercially available for equine veterinarians.

Minitube, in collaboration with the Madison Equine Clinic and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, currently offers equine vitrification and embryo transfer services throughout the United States and will be adding Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to its available services. Madison Equine Clinic is a full-service equine veterinary clinic based in Wisconsin offering clients a complete range of advanced reproductive services for the stallion, mare and foal from its Mount Horeb location. Based in Lexington, KY, the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute has practiced veterinary medicine for more than 133 years and is currently composed of over 60 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of Medicine, Surgery, Critical Care, and Theriogenology.

Minitube International is a biotechnology company specializing in advanced reproduction technologies and cell biology. With partners and clients in the agricultural, veterinary, medical and research communities, Minitube is active in the fields of food animal production, companion and sport animal breeding, clinical research and cellular diagnostics."

Photo Credit: Biopsita with surrogate mom. Photo © 2010 Photo Provided Courtesy of Minitube International 608.845.1502.