Reproductive Technologies Relevant to the Genome Resource Bank inCarnivora

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ContentsCarnivora is one of the most species-rich order of Mammalia. Some species, e.g. domestic cats, dogs and ferrets, are among the most popular pets; others, such as minks and farmed foxes, have economic value for the fur breeding industry. Still others, such as tigers, bears and other top predators, have great impact on the health of natural ecosystems. Most if not all Carnivora species have great cultural and aesthetic importance for man. There are enormous differences between mammalian species in reproductive physiology, and it is not surprising that reproductive technologies can be used with high efficiency with some animal groups, e.g. most farm animals and laboratory rodents, but are very laborious when used with Carnivora species, which often possess unique reproductive traits. The efficiency of assisted reproductive technology (ART) applied to semi-domestic, non-domestic and especially to endangered species of Carnivora remains extremely low in most cases, and often the first positive result reported is the only instance when ART has been successful with that species. Although there are approximately 270 species in the Carnivora order, to the best of our knowledge, successful published attempts to apply ART have been reported for only four families: Mustelidae, Felidae, Canidae and Ursidae. The main achievements in ART, embryo technology in particular, for these families of Carnivora, together with challenges and problems, are reviewed in the relevant sections.

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