The development and application of the modern reproductive technologies to horse breeding

Reprod Domest Anim. 2005 Aug;40(4):310-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0531.2005.00602.x.


Although the horse was probably the first animal to experience and benefit from artificial insemination, it trailed the field somewhat with regard to the application of embryo transfer and other oocyte and embryo-related modern breeding technologies. But with a late run it is now back in mid-field and gaining fast on the other large domestic species in the application of the many technological advances of the past 20 years to sound breeding practice. Improvements in extenders and cryoprotectants have resulted in a veritable upsurge in the transport and insemination of cooled and frozen stallion semen, and parallel improvements in ovulation induction and synchrony, exogenous gonadotrophic stimulation of multiple fertile ovulations and simplified, more efficient methods for non-surgical transfer of embryos to recipient mares, coupled with relaxation of breed society registration restrictions, have together contributed to a similar upsurge in the application of embryo transfer to all breeds and athletic types of horses worldwide, with the continuing and notable exception of the Thoroughbred. Although conventional in vitro fertilization remains something of an unjumped fence in equids, other modern breeding technologies like hysteroscopic low-dose insemination, fluorescence-activated sex sorting of stallion spermatozoa, between-species embryo transfer, embryo freezing and bisection, transvaginal ultrasound-guided oocyte collection, intracytoplasmic sperm injection for fertilization (ICSI), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and now nuclear transfer (cloning), have all been applied to equids with encouraging success. Cloning, especially, holds enormous promise for the Sporthorse industry to re-create champion geldings in stallion form for breeding purposes.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding* / history
  • Breeding* / methods
  • Cloning, Organism
  • Cryopreservation / veterinary
  • Embryo Transfer / veterinary
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Female
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, Medieval
  • Horses*
  • Insemination, Artificial / history
  • Insemination, Artificial / veterinary
  • Male
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / history
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / veterinary*
  • Semen Preservation / veterinary
  • Sex Determination Analysis
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / veterinary