Division of Animal Sciences

Animal Development and Differentiation Research Unit

Research and development of new germ cell and pluripotent stem cell technologies in livestock

 It is necessary to develop new technology which utilizes genome information for effective improvement and reproduction of domestic animals and poultry. Therefore, our research unit focuses attention on developing a new usage of germ cells and pluripotent stem cells. We have reported for the first time that oocytes fertilized with sperm from ectopic xenografts of the testis tissue from immature pig have the ability to develop to viable piglets. As the next step in developing a more practical technology, we introduced the vitrification (non-freeze super low temperature preservation) method to preserve immature testis tissue as the donor source. In addition, we have developed a method to establish and culture embryonic stem (ES) cells of livestock. The study of pluripotent stem cells such as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells is advancing rapidly in humans, but the study in livestock is lagging behind. We have established ES cells from rabbit, pig and bovine and now we start studies to develop a method to induce the differentiation of ES cells into the germ cells.

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    The piglet was produced by ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) with sperm from ectopic xenograft.
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    Phase contrast image of the bovine ES cell colonies