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The amelogenin (AMEL) gene exists on both sex chromosomes of various mammalian species and the length and sequence of the noncoding regions differ between the two chromosome-specific alleles. Because both forms can be amplified using a single primer set, the use of AMEL in polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods has facilitated sex identification in various mammalian species, including cattle, sheep and humans. In this study, we designed PCR primers to yield different-sized products from the AMEL genes on the X (AMELX) and Y (AMELY) chromosomes of pigs. PCR amplification of genomic DNA samples collected from various breeds of pigs (European breeds: Landrace, Large White, Duroc and Berkshire; Chinese breeds: Meishan and Jinhua and their crossbreeds) yielded the expected products. For all breeds, DNA from male pigs produced two bands (520 and 350 bp; AMELX and AMELY, respectively), whereas samples from female pigs generated only the 520 bp product. We then tested the use of PCR of AMEL for sex identification of in vitro-produced (IVP) porcine embryos sampled at 2 or 5 to 6 days after fertilization; germinal vesicle (GV)-stage oocytes and electroactivated embryos were used as controls. More than 88% of the GV-stage oocytes and electroactivated embryos yielded a single 520 bp single band and about 50% of the IVP embryos tested produced both bands. Our findings show that PCR analysis of the AMEL gene is reliable for sex identification of pigs and porcine embryos.
The possibility of using aged porcine oocytes treated with caffeine, which inhibits the decrease in M-phase promoting factor activity, for pig cloning was evaluated. Cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) were cultured initially for 36h and subsequently with or without 5mM caffeine for 24h (in total for 60h: 60CA+ or 60CA– group, respectively). As a control group, COCs were cultured for 48h without caffeine (48CA–). The pronuclear formation rates at 10h after electrical stimulation in the 60CA+ and 60CA– groups decreased significantly (p<0.05) compared with the 48CA– group. However, the fragmentation rate was significantly higher (p<0.05) in the 60CA– group than in the 60CA+ and 48CA– groups. When the stimulated oocytes were cultured for 6 days, the 60CA+ group showed significantly lower blastocyst formation and higher fragmentation or degeneration rates (p<0.05) than the 48CA– group. However, the number of total cells in blastocysts was not affected by maturation period or caffeine treatment. When somatic cell nuclei were injected into the non-enucleated oocytes and exposed to cytoplasm for a certain duration (1–11h) before the completion of maturation (48 or 60h), the rate of nuclear membrane breakdown after exposure to cytoplasm for 1–2h in the 60CA– oocytes was significantly lower (p;<0.05) than in the other experimental groups. The rate of scattered chromosome formation in the same 60CA– group tended to be lower (p=0.08) than in the other groups. After the enucleation and transfer of nuclei, blastocyst formation rates in the 60CA+ and 60CA– groups were significantly lower (p<0.05) than in the 48CA– group. Blastocyst quality did not differ among all the groups. These results suggest that chromosome decondensation of the transplanted somatic nucleus is affected by both the duration of exposure to cytoplasm and the age of the recipient porcine oocytes, and that caffeine treatment promotes nuclear remodelling but does not prevent the decrease in the developmental ability of cloned embryos caused by oocyte aging.
We investigated effects of invasive adenylate cyclase (iAC), 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX) and dibutyryl cyclic AMP (dbcAMP) on porcine oocyte in vitro maturation (IVM), in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and subsequent embryonic development. Porcine oocytes were collected in Hepes-buffered NCSU-37 supplemented with or without 0.1 μg/ml iAC and 0.5 mM IBMX. IVM was performed in a modified NCSU-37 supplemented with or without 1 mM dbcAMP for 22 h and then without dbcAMP for an additional 24 h. After IVF, oocytes were cultured in vitro for 6 days. After 12 h of IVM, no difference in nuclear status was observed irrespective of supplementation with these chemicals during collection and IVM. At 22 h, most (95%) of the oocytes cultured with dbcAMP remained at the germinal vesicle (GV) stage, whereas 44.3% of the oocytes cultured without dbcAMP underwent GV breakdown. At 36 h, oocytes cultured with dbcAMP had progressed to prometaphase I or metaphase I (MI) (32.6% and 49.3%, respectively), whereas non-treated oocytes had progressed further to anaphase I, telophase I or metaphase II (MII) (13.6%, 14.3% and 38.0%, respectively). At 46 h, the rate of matured oocytes at MII was higher in oocytes cultured with dbcAMP (81%) than without dbcAMP (57%), while the proportion of oocytes arrested at MI was lower when cultured with dbcAMP (15%) than without dbcAMP (31%). The rate of monospermic fertilisation was higher when oocytes were cultured with dbcAMP (21%) than without dbcAMP (9%), with no difference in total penetration rates (58% and 52%, respectively). The blastocyst rate was higher in oocytes cultured with dbcAMP (32%) than without dbcAMP (19%). These results suggest that a change in intracellular level of cAMP during oocyte collection does not affect maturational and developmental competence of porcine oocytes and that synchronisation of meiotic maturation using dbcAMP enhances the meiotic potential of oocytes by promoting the MI to MII transition and results in high developmental competence by monospermic fertilisation.
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