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. 

Cows Roseworthy

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.

Key methodology:

  • 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.
Will van Wettere


Dr Will Van Wettere

Co-supervisorsDr Karen Kind | Dr Jen Kelly - SARDI | Dr Hayley McGrice

Research area: Production animal health

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Animal Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Animal science, Honours projects - Food and Nutrition Science, Honours projects - Will Van Wettere, Honours in Animal Science subtheme - Production animal health, Honours projects - Jen Kelly