As a novel experimental animal model, tree shrews have received increasing attention in recent years. Despite this, little is known in regards to the time phases of their embryonic development. In this study, surveillance systems were used to record the behavior and timing of copulations; embryos at different post-copulation stages were collected and cultured in vitro; and the developmental characteristics of both early-stage and in vitro cultured embryos were determined. A total of 163 females were collected following effective copulation, and 150 were used in either unilateral or bilateral oviduct embryo collections, with 307 embryos from 111 females obtained (conception rate=74%). Among them, 237 embryos were collected from 78 females, bilaterally, i.e., the average embryo number per female was 3.04; 172 fertilized eggs collected from 55 females, bilaterally, were cultured for 24-108 h in vitro for developmental observations; finally, 65 embryos from 23 bilateral cases and 70 embryos from 33 unilateral cases were used in embryo transplantation.
Keywords: Embryo culture; Embryonic developmental stage; Tree shrew.