Successful artificial insemination in the corn snake, Elaphe gutatta, using fresh and cooled semen

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Abstract

The design and implementation of assisted reproductive technology to improve genetic diversity and augment captive populations is an important but rarely applied research field in reptiles. Using the corn snake (Elaphe gutatta) as a model, the Henry Doorly Zoo recently produced offspring born as a result of artificial insemination using both fresh, diluted semen, and diluted semen stored at refrigeration for 3 days. Semen was collected noninvasively from sexually mature male corn snakes using a gentle massaging technique, extended in medium then inseminated into the oviducts of adult females. Using molecular genetic techniques to confirm or refute the success of the insemination using primers developed for the black rat snake, Elaphe obsolete, all possible parents and offspring genotypes were evaluated. A paternity-by-exclusion analysis verified that the offspring were in fact a result of artificial insemination. Zoo Biol 26:363–369, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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