Viability of equine embryos after puncture of the capsule and biopsy for preimplantation genetic diagnosis

Y. H. Choi, A. Gustafson-Seabury, I. C. Velez, D. L. Hartman, S. Bliss, F. L. Riera, J. E. Roldán, B. Chowdhary, K. Hinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


The equine embryo possesses a capsule that is considered essential for its survival. We assessed viability after breaching the capsule of early (Day 6) and expanded (Day 7 and 8) equine blastocysts by micromanipulation. The capsule was penetrated using a Piezo drill, and trophoblast biopsy samples were obtained for genetic analysis. Pregnancy rates for Day-6 embryos, which had intact zonae pellucidae at the time of recovery, were 3/3 for those biopsied immediately after recovery and 2/3 for those biopsied after being shipped overnight under warm (∼28 °C) conditions. The pregnancy rates for encapsulated Day-7 expanded blastocysts were 5/6 for those biopsied immediately and 5/6 for those biopsied after being shipped overnight warm. Two of four encapsulated Day-8 blastocysts, 790 and 1350 μm in diameter, established normal pregnancies after biopsy. Nine mares were allowed to maintain pregnancy, and they gave birth to nine normal foals. Biopsied cells from eight embryos that produced foals were subjected to whole-genome amplification. Sex was successfully determined from amplified DNA in 8/8 embryos. Identification of disease-causing mutations matched in the analyses of 6/6 samples for the sodium channel, voltage-gated, type IV, alpha subunit (SCN4A) gene and in 6/7 samples for the peptidylprolyl isomerase B (PPIB) gene, in embryo-foal pairs. Thus, the capsule of the equine embryo can be breached without impairing viability. Further work is needed to determine whether this breach is transient or permanent. These findings are relevant to the understanding of equine embryo development and to the establishment of methods for micromanipulation and embryo cryopreservation in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-902
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Cell Biology


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