Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 4
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2009

20 - Role and efficiency of artificial insemination and genome resource banking



Historically, the breeding of giant pandas in ex situ programmes has been difficult due to behavioural incompatibility and interanimal aggression. Because some individuals fail to mate naturally, the potential loss of valuable genes is a major concern to effective genetic management (see Chapter 21). Consistently successful artificial insemination (AI) would allow incorporating genetically valuable males with behavioural or physical anomalies into the gene pool. This strategy becomes even more powerful when used in the context of a genome resource bank (GRB), an organised repository of cryopreserved biomaterials (tissue, blood, DNA and sperm) (see Chapter 7). The use of sperm cryopreservation and AI allows the movement of genes among zoos and breeding centres without needing to transfer animals, which is both stressful and costly.

‘Assisted breeding’ refers to the tools and techniques associated with helping a pair of animals propagate, from AI to embryo transfer to cloning, among others (Howard, 1999; Pukazhenthi & Wildt, 2004). With the exception of AI, there is not much need for most other assisted-breeding techniques for the giant panda. As will be demonstrated here, AI is quite adequate for dealing with most cases of infertility or with helping to maintain adequate gene diversity in the captive population. In fact, the major breeding facilities, especially the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (hereafter referred to as the Wolong Breeding Centre) and the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, routinely use AI to increase pregnancy success.

Bonney, R. C., Wood, D. J. and Kleiman, D. G. (1982). Endocrine correlates of behavioural oestrus in the female giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and associated hormonal changes in the male. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility, 64, 209–15.
Durrant, B., Czekala, N., Olson, al. (2002). Papanicolaou staining of exfoliated vaginal epithelial cells facilitates the prediction of ovulation in the giant panda. Theriogenology, 57, 1855–64.
Durrant, B. S., Olson, M. A., Amodeo, al. (2003). Vaginal cytology and vulvar swelling as indicators of impending estrus and ovulation in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Zoo Biology, 22, 313–21.
Hodges, J. K., Bevan, D. J., Celma, al. (1984). Aspects of reproductive endocrinology of the female giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in captivity with special reference to the detection of ovulation and pregnancy. Journal of Zoology (London), 203, 253–67.
Howard, J. G. (1999). Assisted reproductive techniques in nondomestic carnivores. In Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine. Current Therapy IV, ed. Fowler, M. E. and Miller, R. E.. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Co., pp. 449–57.
Hu, J. and Wei, F. (1990). Development and progress of breeding and rearing giant pandas in captivity within China. In Research and Progress in Biology of the Giant Panda, ed. Hu, J.. Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology, pp. 322–5.
Hu, J., Liu, T. and He, G. (1990). Giant Pandas with Graceful Bearing. Chengdu: Sichuan Publishing House of Science and Technology.
Huang, Y., Li, D. S., Du, al. (2000a). Cryopreservation experiment on sperm of the giant panda. Chinese Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 26, 13–14.
Huang, Y., Li, D. S., Zhang, H. al. (2000b). Electroejaculation and semen cryopreservation in the giant panda. Journal of Sichuan Teachers College (Natural Science), 21, 238–43.
Huang, Y., Wang, P. Y., Zhang, H. al. (2001). Efficiency of artificial insemination in giant pandas at the Wolong Breeding Center. Journal of Andrology Supplement, abstract 118.
Huang, Y., Wang, P., Zhang, G. et al. (2002). Use of artificial insemination to enhance propagation of giant pandas at the Wolong Breeding Center. In Proceeding of the Second International Symposium on Assisted Reproductive Technology for the Conservation and Genetic Management of Wildlife, ed. Loskutoff, N.. Omaha, NE: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, pp. 172–9.
Kan, O. and Shu-hua, T. (1964). In the Peking Zoo – the first baby giant panda. Animal Kingdom, 57, 44–6.
Kleiman, D. G., Karesh, W. B. and Chu, P. R. (1979). Behavioural changes associated with oestrus in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) with comments on female proceptive behaviour. International Zoo Yearbook, 19, 217–23.
Liu, W. (1979). The test of giant panda artificial insemination. Chinese Science Report, 9, 415.
Liu, W. (1981). A note on the artificial insemination of the giant panda. Acta Veterinaria et Zootechnica Sinica, 12, 73–6.
Liu, W. X., Ye, J. Q., Li, C. Z. and Liao, G. X. (1979). Artificial insemination experiment on the giant panda. The Chinese Zoo Annual, 2, 20–4.
Masui, M., Hiramatsu, H., Nose, al. (1989). Successful artificial insemination in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) at Ueno Zoo. Zoo Biology, 8, 17–26.
Moore, H. D. M., Bush, M., Celma, al. (1984). Artificial insemination in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Journal of Zoology (London), 203, 269–78.
Olson, M. A., Huang, Y., Li, al. (2003a). Assessment of motility, acrosomal integrity and viability of giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) sperm following short-term storage at 4°C. Zoo Biology, 22, 529–44.
Olson, M. A., Huang, Y., Li, D., Zhang, H. and Durrant, B. (2003b). Comparison of storage techniques for giant panda sperm. Zoo Biology, 22, 335–45.
Pukazhenthi, B. S. and Wildt, D. E. (2004). Which reproductive technologies are most relevant to studying, managing and conserving wildlife?Reproduction, Fertility and Development, 16, 33–46.
Wildt, D. E. (1997). Genome resource banking: impact on biotic conservation and society. In Reproductive Tissue Banking: Scientific Principles, ed. Karow, A. M. and Critser, J. K.. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, pp. 399–439.
Wildt, D. E., Rall, W. F., Critser, J. K., Monfort, S. L. and Seal, U. S. (1997). Genome resource banks: ‘living collections’ for biodiversity conservation. BioScience, 47, 689–98.
Ye, Z. Y., He, G. X., Zhang, A. al. (1991). Studies on the artificial pollination method of the giant panda. Journal of Sichuan University (Natural Science), 28, 50–3.
Zeng, G. Q., Meng, Z. B., Jiang, G. T., He, G. X. and Xu, Q. M. (1984). The relationship between estrogen concentration and estrous behaviors during the estrous cycle of the giant panda. Acta Veterinaria et Zootechnica Sinica, 30, 324–30.
Zhang, A. J., Ye, Z. Y., He, G. al. (1991). Studies on the conception effect of frozen semen in the giant panda. Journal of Sichuan University (Natural Science), 28, 54–9.