Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research into cetacean reproduction leads to birth of killer whales by artificial insemination

13.05.2004


A systematic program of research into the reproductive physiology of killer whales by a team of scientists from SeaWorld, the National Zoological Park, and the Zoological Society of San Diego has culminated in the first live births of any cetacean--the group of marine mammals that includes whales and dolphins--by means of artificial insemination.


Mother killer whale and her male calf.



In a report set for publication in the journal Biology of Reproduction, the team, headed by Dr. Todd R. Robeck, based at SeaWorld San Antonio, notes that their research will allow sperm of killer whales in zoological facilities to be stored by a technique known as "genome resource banking" or GRB. GRB, used in conjunction with artificial insemination, could play an important role in ensuring the genetic vitality of captive marine mammals.

Robeck’s team studied one male and five female killer whales to evaluate the reproductive physiology of these animals. The females were between 13 and 20 years old and weighed about 5,000 pounds. The male was 20 years old and weighed more than 11,000 pounds. All were trained to cooperate in a variety of procedures involved in the research.


Noninvasive techniques were used to collect data on reproductive hormonal patterns of the killer whale, and ultrasound exams helped establish the time of ovulation.

Semen collected from the male orca for use in the artificial insemination trials was either liquid-stored for up to three days or preserved by freezing and later thawed.

Eight attempts at artificial insemination over the course of two years led to three pregnancies, one from thawed sperm and two from liquid-stored sperm. One male calf and one female calf were born. The third pregnant female, who died of unrelated causes, was carrying a male fetus. Paternity tests confirmed that all three calves resulted from artificial insemination.

Although killer whales are common throughout the oceans of the world, the population in zoological facilities numbers only 48, mostly in small, genetically isolated groups. Since 1985, natural breeding of captive killer whales has led to 27 births, but natural breeding sometimes requires moving animals between facilities.

Robeck and his team point out that artificial insemination capabilities will help maintain their genetic diversity.

Dr. Todd R. Robeck | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ssr.org/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines
20.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees
20.11.2018 | Universität Leipzig

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>