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This study was conducted to examine whether the nuclear to cytoplasmic (N/C) ratio had any influence on the timing of embryo compaction and blastocoel formation, as well as formation rate and quality of blastocyst. First, we produced embryos with increased N/C ratio by removal of approximately one-third of the cytoplasm and with decreased N/C ratio by doubling the oocyte cytoplasm with an enucleated oocyte. The initiation of compaction and cavitation in reduced cytoplasm group was significantly earlier (P < 0.05) compared with the control and doubled cytoplasm groups. The rate of blastocysts in the reduced cytoplasm and doubled cytoplasm groups was significantly lower (P < 0.05) compared with the control group. Blastocyst quality in terms of total cell number in the reduced cytoplasm group was significantly lower (P < 0.05) compared with the doubled cytoplasm group, but not different from the control group. Next, we produced embryos with various N/C ratios by oocyte fusion combined with cytochalasin D treatment. The onset of compaction and cavitation in the 2N/2C group (decreased N/C ratio) was significantly delayed (P < 0.05) or had the tendency to be delayed (P = 0.064), respectively, compared with the control group (2N/1C). A significantly higher rate of blastocyst was observed in the 4N/2C group compared with the 1N/1C group (P < 0.05) but not different from the remaining groups. These results demonstrated that an increase in N/C ratio caused an earlier occurrence of morula compaction and blastocyst formation in both in vitro fertilization (IVF) and parthenogenetically activated pig embryos.
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