May 9, 2023


Researchers develop cattle blastoids in lab to improve cattle breeding



Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center, along with colleagues from Brazil and China, have developed a new method for producing bovine blastoids, the first step in creating lab-grown cow embryos that could result in new reproductive technologies for cattle breeding, UT Southwestern Medical Center reported.


This technology could revolutionise traditional cattle breeding and could lead to faster genetic gains in beef or dairy production, or to reduce disease incidence in the animals.


The research, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and the New York Stem Cell Foundation, could prove to be valuable in improving reproduction in cattle.


Jun Wu, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and the Virginia Murchison Linthicum Scholar in Medical Research, said with further optimisation, the advancements in bovine blastoid technology could pave the way for innovative artificial reproductive methodologies in cattle breeding.


He said this could revolutionise traditional approaches to cattle breeding and herald a new era in livestock industry practices.


The bovine blastoids were developed from cultured stem cells in the lab, and researchers were able to demonstrate that they resemble natural bovine blastocysts in morphology, size, cell number, and lineage composition. The lab-generated blastoids could also produce maternal recognition signaling upon transfer to recipient cows.


Carlos A. Pinzon-Arteaga, a student in the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and lead author of the study, said they were able to develop an efficient and robust protocol to generate bovine blastoids by assembling bovine embryonic and trophoblast stem cells that can self-organise and faithfully re-create all three blastocyst lineages.


He said future comparisons with in vivo-produced embryos are still needed to better evaluate the blastoid model.


This breakthrough builds on previous findings from the Wu lab, which reported the generation of similar mouse and human embryo models. The Wu lab has contributed to the development of novel culture systems and methods that enable the generation of new stem cells for basic and translational studies.


In addition to stem cell-derived blastocyst models, the Wu lab uses interspecies chimeras to study fundamental biology such as conserved and divergent developmental programs, determination of body and organ size, species barriers, and cancer resistance. The lab also works to develop new applications for regenerative medicine.


-      UT Southwestern Medical Center

Video >

Follow Us