Roldan, Eduardo R. S. and Gomendio Kindelan, Montserrat and Garde Lopez-Brea, Jose Julian and Espeso Pajares, Gerardo and Ledda, Sergio and Berlinguer, Fiammetta and Del Olmo, Ana and Soler, Ana J. and Arregui, Lucía (2006) Inbreeding and reproduction in endangered ungulates: preservation of genetic variation through the organization of genetic resource banks. Reproduction in Domestic Animals, Vol. 41 (s2), p. 82-92. eISSN 1439-0531. Article.
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There is a constant increase in the number of species suffering marked reductions in population size. This reduction in size and the lack of genetic flow may lead to a decrease in genetic variability and to matings between close relatives (i.e. inbreeding) with an ensuing reduction in fitness. It is thus important to understand the mechanism underlying the deleterious effects of inbreeding and to develop reproductive biotechnologies that will allow the reduction of inbreeding depression by facilitating gene exchange between populations. The study of three endangered species of gazelles, Cuvier's gazelle (Gazella cuvieri), Mohor gazelle (Gazella dama mhorr) and dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas neglecta) has revealed that inbreeding negatively affects several semen parameters (motility, sperm morphology, acrosome integrity). Semen cryopreservation has been achieved in the three species but success varies depending on the diluent employed and the level of inbreeding. Artificial insemination of Mohor gazelles have led to the birth of the first gazelle born using frozen-thawed semen but improvements are needed before this technology can be applied on a routine basis for the genetic management of the populations. Collection of oocytes after ovarian stimulation, followed by in vitro maturation, fertilization and culture has met with some initial success in the Mohor gazelle. These, together with other reproductive technologies, will offer an invaluable help in preserving the maximum of genetic diversity of these and related endangered ungulate species.
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