World’s first test tube camel

ABU DHABI — In an unprecedented scientific achievement, a local medical team here has successfully delivered the world’s first test tube camel using in-vitro fertilisation technique.

By (Wam)

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Published: Sun 27 Feb 2005, 9:16 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:39 PM

The delivery was a culmination of four years of laborious research in a bid to improve camelidae through she-camels only and by using the embryo transfer technique.

“The UAE is the first country in the world to successfully apply the embryo transfer technique. There are 14 similar cases of pregnant camels at the centre, four of which are expected to give birth early next month," Professor Abdul Haq Anwassy, head of Centre’s Theriogenology Section, told Wam in a telephonic conversation today.

According to the Centre’s experts, the benefits from the application of such a technique are too many. “It will help in breeding camels, most important of which is saving a certain specimen of camels in the event of their illness or death," he noted.

The achievement, however, culminated arduous efforts of animal resource conservation first initiated by the late president, Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and later followed up by the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In-vitro fertilisation used in the experiment involved seven steps before a healthy calf was born, the first of which was oocyts recovery where ovaries were obtained from adult females that were slaughtered in camel khazna abattoir. Ovaries were collected immediately then washed with saline solution and placed in a thermos containing saline solution for transport to the laboratory.

Upon arrival, within two hours after collection, ovaries were washed twice with saline solution and kept at 37 degrees Centigrade until recovery by aspiration. Oocytes were recovered by aspiration of all follicles more than 5 mm. These oocytes were washed in Phosphate Buffer Solution (PBS) supplemented with antibiotic. Only food quality oocytes were selected for in vitro maturation.

The selected oocytes were matured in maturation medium (TCM-199) supplemented with hormone and fetal calf serum. These oocytes were placed in an incubator with 5! co2, 38.5 degrees Centigrade and maximum humidity for 30 hours.

Semen Fozan a single male with proven fertility was used. Semen was collected using a Bovine Artificial Vagina on the day of in-vitro fertilisation. Ejaulates were incubated at 35 degrees Centigrade peudant 30 min. Motile spermatozoa were obtained by centrifugation of fresh semen on a percoll discontinuous gradient.

The matured oocytes were washed four times in PBS and placed in a fertilisation medium supplemented with heparin-sodium salt. The mobile spermatozoa were added to this medium. The oocytes and spermatozoa were incubated together during 18th under 5! co2 in air and high humidity of 95! at 38.5 degrees Centigrade.

Fourth step; in-vitro oocyte culture systems: Oviducts were collected from adult females and transported to the laboratory in a day sterile 50 ml tube. At the laboratory, the oviducts were disinfected by immersion in ethanol. Mucosal tissue were extruded into a petri dish by exerting gentle pressure with a sterile glass slide. The mass of epithelial cells was transferred into a 15 m1 centrifuge tube. After centrifugation, the pellet of epithelial cells was recovered and washed in a TCM-199 and then under 5! co2 at 38 degrees Centigrade. The resulting monolayer were ready for co-culture 5 days after the start of culture.

Following in-vitro fertilisation, the zygotes obtained were placed on these monolayer cells. With 24 hours of culture, the zygotes were examined under microscope and the first eleovage of oocytes (two to eight cells) was observed. The embryos obtained were kept in co-culture during 7 to 9 day, before their transfer to some equal recipients.

Fifth step; embryo transfer: Good quality embryos were deposited in uterus of recipient camels. Embryos were loaded into an embryo transfer gun. The transfer gun was advanced through the vagina to the uterus. The technician’s hand was placed in the rectum to direct the transfer gun into cervix then in one of the two horns.

Sixth step; pregnancy diagnosis: Blood samples were collected from recipients females 10 days after embryo transfer to follow the progesterone level. All females with a high progesterone level (-1ng) were considered as pregnant. Pregnancies were confirmed by ultrasonography using a realtime scanner with 15 mhz linear array transducer.

Seventh step: After one year and 22 days of pregnancy, one healthy calf was born. it was a male camel weighing 38 kgs.

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