Embryo Transfer as a Tool in Conservation:Scientists succeeded in utilizing Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer (MOET) technique for conservation of an almost extinct breed of Vechur cattle.
Embryo transfer technology was introduced by KAU with the collaboration of Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (MILMA) which had an Embryo Transfer Unit of the Department of Science and Technology. Care was taken to select cows with good characteristics as donors. Selected breeding bulls were used. Recipients were crossbred cows with good reproductive performance. Blood typing was done for the bull, donor, recipients and for calves born as the confirmatory test for the parentage of the calves born.
At the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) in Animal Genetics and Breeding, a pure bred Vechur cow `Nandini’ was subjected to multiple ovulation and insemination with semen of `Ganesh’, a Vechur bull. Five embryos were recovered and deposited into the uterus of two recipient cows; which resulted in two pregnancies. One of the recipients was `Anupama’, a crossbred Vechur cow, and the other was a Holstein x Friesian (HF) cross. The HF crossbred cow also was subjected to artificial insemination in her natural heat period by using frozen semen from a Holstein x Friesian crossbred bull.
`Anupama’ calved a female calf and the HF cross gave birth to two male-calves. One of the male calves had all the typical features of HF cross. The other male-calf and the female-calf from Anupama had all typical Vechur characteristics. Parentage of the calves was confirmed by blood typing. The female-calf from Anupama weighed 8 kg. The male-calf of Vechur type of HF cross weighed 13 kg. The HF crossbred calf weighed about 23 kg at birth. The female-calf was named `Anjali’ and male-calves were named `Lavan’ and `Kusan’.