Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus in Relation to Embryos Fertilized In Vitro

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The association of bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV) with embryos derived by in vitro fertilization from oocytes of experimentally infected heifers or oocytes/embryos exposed to the virus in vitro was investigated. Using a nested-PCR assay, proviral DNA of BIV was not detected in follicular fluid or in embryos derived from BIV-infected donors. In vitro exposure of oocytes to BIV during maturation or insemination with BIV-infected semen resulted in zona pellucida-intact embryos testing negative for BIV provirus. However, exposure of zona pellucida-free day-7 embryos to the virus resulted in a positive BIV assay for 28% of the batches of embryos, suggesting that the zona pellucida has a role in protecting against BIV infection. The presence of BIV in the IVF system had no apparent effect on the development of bovine embryos to the blastocyst stage.

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