Factors affecting embryo gender in production animals
Investigate what factors affect the gender of the embryos produced, within the ovary and follicle as well as during final stages of oocyte maturation.
The ability to increase the number of female progeny produced would significantly improve the efficiency and productivity of the dairy industry, the pig industry and the sheep industry.
In vitro oocyte and embryo production technologies will be used in conjunction with basic measures of ovarian morphology and physiology to determine whether the ratio of embryos produced can be skewed in favour of female progeny.
- The effects of arginine supplementation on ovarian blood flow and response to exogenous gonadotrophins will be determined using young female pigs. Diets will be fed prior to puberty.
- Response to exogenous gonadotrophins will be determined based on ovarian follicle growth.
- One ovary will be used for collection of follicular fluid to determine intrafollicular levels of key metabolites, steroids and gonadotrophins.
- The second ovary will be used to measure the expression of angiogenic factors (including, vascular endothelial factor, angiopoietin and hypoxia inducible factor).
- Doppler ultrasound will be used prior to the first ovulation and on days 14, 16 and 18 of the first oestrous cycle to assess ovarian blood flow.
Study production animal health
Dr Will Van Wettere's research focuses primarily on developing management strategies to improve the reproductive performance of female production animals (in particular pigs, sheep and cattle). This includes:
- increasing neonatal survival, as well as their growth and reproductive potential
- developing phenotypic markers of reproductive potential and longevity,
- improving the quality of oocyte/embryo donors and embryo recipients,
- alleviating seasonal infertility, and
- improving ovarian function.
If you have a specific interest in the above areas and would like to discuss potential honours projects, please contact Will.