Factors affecting commercial application of embryo technologies in New Zealand: a modelling approach.


New reproductive technologies include sexed sperm and embryo-based technologies. The technology of sperm sexing, for various reasons, is not available in New Zealand and its use has not been modelled. Embryo technologies are however already in use on a limited scale and various scenarios for their use in both the dairy and beef industries in New Zealand have been modelled. This review briefly discusses the various technologies available and some of their potential strengths and weaknesses. In the dairy industry, modelling has been used to simulate the production of breeding bulls for large breeding companies and the production of replacement heifers in dairy herds. For the beef industry, similar modelling has been carried out to determine the opportunities for more efficient beef production. All the models confirmed that at current levels of performance, embryo-based reproductive technologies are usually not profitable in New Zealand except in niche market situations where the returns from the resulting offspring are significantly greater than can be obtained from natural mating or artificial insemination (AI) reproduction systems. This is confirmed by the low uptake of these technologies in this country to date. Even if performance lifts to levels similar to AI, profitability is likely to occur only if the costs of pregnancies to embryo-based reproductive technologies can occur at prices less than two to four times greater than AI or natural mating. This break-even requirement depends on the returns that can be achieved and the advantages that can be captured by the technology over and above those available from AI or natural mating. Two new uses for reproductive technologies in dairy cattle could be the proliferation of novel or rare genotypes from gene discovery programs and improving the female reproductive rate for optimal marker assisted selection. In both these uses the technology is not at present competing with AI or natural mating. The challenge exists therefore for the biological scientists to satisfy these requirements, coupled with the ethical and human factors involved in the introduction of any new technology. Potential end users of the technologies have been surveyed. They are quite positive about the technologies provided they can use them profitably and are keen to obtain more information about them.

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@article{Smeaton2003FactorsAC, title={Factors affecting commercial application of embryo technologies in New Zealand: a modelling approach.}, author={Duncan Smeaton and Betsy L Harris and Zhao Zhong Xu and W H Vivanco}, journal={Theriogenology}, year={2003}, volume={59 2}, pages={617-34} }