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Antral Follicle Populations and Embryo Production – In Vitro and In Vivo – of Bos indicus–taurus Donors from Weaning to Yearling Ages



Interest in indicus–taurus cattle has been increasing, as these animals are likely to present the best characteristics of Zebu and European bovine breeds. The aim of this study was to compare the embryo production of indicus–taurus donors with high vs low antral follicle counts obtained by ovum pickup/in vitro production (OPU/IVP) and superovulation (SOV)/embryo collection. Braford females at weaning age (3/8 Nelore × 5/8 Hereford, n = 137, 9 ± 1 month old) were subjected to six serial ovarian ultrasonographs and were assigned to two groups according to the number of antral follicles ≥3 mm as follows: G-High antral follicular count (AFC, n = 20, mean ≥40 follicles) and G-Low AFC (n = 20, mean ≤10 follicles). When the females (n = 40) reached 24 months of age, they were subjected to both OPU/IVP and SOV/embryo collection. The average number of follicles remained highly stable throughout all of the ultrasound evaluations (range 0.90–0.92). The mean number of COCs recovered (36.90 ± 13.68 vs 5.80 ± 3.40) was higher (p < 0.05) for females with high AFC, resulting in higher (p < 0.05) numbers of total embryos among females with high vs low AFC (6.10 ± 4.51 vs 0.55 ± 0.83). The mean number of embryos per collection was also higher (p < 0.05) for G-High vs G-Low (6.95 ± 5.34 vs 1.9 ± 2.13). We conclude that a single ultrasound performed at pre-pubertal ages to count antral follicles can be used as a predictor of embryo production following IVP and SOV/embryo collection in indicus–taurus females.