Assisted Reproductive Techniques for Cattle Breeding in Developing Countries: A Critical Appraisal of Their Value and Limitations

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ContentsCommercialization of animal biotechnologies, including those related to reproduction [also known as assisted reproductive techniques (ARTS)], is an increasing reality in developing countries, following the enormous flow of information around us and the increasing global commercial interests in areas where cattle production has its major assets. The present review discusses the achievements of various biotechnological tools for reproduction in cattle including semen handling for artificial insemination (AI), superovulation and embryo transfer (MOET), in vitro handling of oocytes and production of embryos, reproductive cloning and emerging technologies (sex selection, gene targeting and nuclear transfer for livestock transgenesis, genomics for marker-assisted selection, etc.). The application of these technologies for cattle breeding is critically discussed in relation to their impact in the improvement of the efficiency of dairy and beef production in developed and –particularly – in developing countries, which ultimately rule the possibilities of a competitive and sound production of food for human consumption. Despite the remarkable progress made and the punctual importance of some of the above-mentioned technologies, AI remains the most important assisted reproductive technology (ART) in developing countries. Any attempt to gain widespread of any other ART under the predominant economical conditions in developing countries ought to match the simplicity and the success of AI as a breeding tool.

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