Advanced reproductive technologies include in vitro embryo production, cloning and genetic modification. However, only the former has been developed in deer. Considerable experimentation is required to develop cloning and transgenesis which is only justified if the deer industry foresees future potential and if animal welfare and public acceptance issues are addressed. Efficient in vitro embryo production and cloning potentially enables rapid dissemination of desired genotypes but relies on accurate identification of genetically superior individuals, which is limiting. In vitro embryo production with oocytes from elite females increases genetic gain and is further enhanced with pre-pubertal animals by shortening generation interval. Utilising sexed sperm to pre-determine gender increases reproductive efficiency. Cloning by nuclear transfer pre-determines the genotype of the animal and could effectively produce cloned stags from progenytested sires for natural breeding. Transgenesis introduces novel genetic modifications into the genome but is limited by the present poor understanding of which genes to manipulate to enhance desirable traits. The advancement of animal genomics will identify both individual genes and entire genotypes to multiply. Nevertheless, these technologies are considerably more difficult to cost-effectively implement than even poorly adopted artificial insemination in an extensive deer industry and will only be relevant for specialised markets.

DN, Wells, and DK Berg

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 63, Queenstown, 251-257, 2003
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