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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Heterologous in vitro fertilization and sperm capacitation in an endangered African antelope, the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah).

Scimitar-horned oryx sperm function was studied using protocols developed for domestic cattle. Objectives were to assess sperm 1) viability and motility in vitro over time, 2) capacitation in heparin- or calcium-supplemented medium, and 3) function in an in vitro fertilization system using heterologous (domestic cow) oocytes. Seminal aliquots were washed, and sperm were resuspended in 1) Talp with 5% fetal calf serum (TALP), 2) TALP + 10 microM heparin, 3) TALP + 20 microM heparin, and 4) TALP + 10 mM CaCl. At 0, 3, and 6 h, aliquots were evaluated for sperm motility, viability (using Hoechst 33258), and ability to acrosome-react when exposed to lysophosphatidylcholine (LC). Sperm function was assessed by evaluating fertilization and embryo development after coculture of in vitro-matured domestic cow oocytes with oryx sperm. Overall mean percentages of motile and viable sperm remained high at 6 h (> 60% and > 70%, respectively). Fewer (p < 0.05) sperm incubated in TALP + 10 microM heparin for 6 h contained intact acrosomes after exposure to LC, but there were no differences between LC and control samples after incubation in TALP without heparin. LC-treated sperm in TALP + 10 mM CaCl contained fewer (p < 0.05) intact acrosomes at 3 and 6 h (52.6% and 31.2%, respectively) than paired controls (83.6% and 70.0%, respectively). Oryx sperm from all males were capable of fertilizing cow oocytes (range 17 of 26 [65.4%] to 25 of 26 [96.2%]). Of the 55 2-cell embryos produced, 34 (61.8%) developed to > or = 8 cells. Of the 24 uncleaved oocytes, 7 (29.2%) were polyspermic. These data demonstrate that processed sperm from the endangered scimitar-horned oryx remain vigorous in vitro for at least 6 h. Capacitation can be induced using cattle sperm-processing techniques, with sperm appearing most responsive to elevated CaCl concentrations. Most interesting was the successful production and development of hybrid embryos after coincubation of oryx sperm with cow oocytes, suggesting that the two bovid species have similar fertilization mechanisms.[1]


  1. Heterologous in vitro fertilization and sperm capacitation in an endangered African antelope, the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah). Roth, T.L., Weiss, R.B., Buff, J.L., Bush, L.M., Wildt, D.E., Bush, M. Biol. Reprod. (1998) [Pubmed]
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