Vietnamese researcher Do Van Huong has been refining a deep-frozen embryo process which will supercharge transfer of the best cattle genetics throughout Northern Australia.
The cryopreservation by liquid nitrogen process known as vitrification – which freezes cattle embryos produced by IVF or cloning to -196C – is achieving initial survival rates around 90%, enhancing potential for transport and transfer of genetics across a range of grazing properties.
Mr Huong’s project at CQUniversity in Rockhampton also has longer-term potential to strengthen beef industry ties between Australia and Vietnam.
He has been collaborating with Simon Walton, who runs the Australian Reproductive Technologies (ART) facility near Mt Chalmers (west of Rockhampton).
Mr Walton has been in touch with Mr Huong’s agricultural research centre contacts in Vietnam and has established live cattle exports, with a view to offering embryo transfer services in that country in the near future.
He says that initially the embryo transfer services in Vietnam would be offered by visiting Australian specialists but eventually Mr Huong could return to his home country to lead the project.
Mr Huong says that, historically, the deep freezing of IVF or clone embryos in cattle, as opposed to humans, has posed many challenges including poor survival rates of embryos frozen by conventional methods.
“My initial results show very high survival rates (around 90%) using our modified technique. I strongly believe that this trilateral collaboration will improve assisted reproduction technology for commercial use in the cattle industry.
“My PhD project complements our ongoing research carried out with ART on modifications to improve cloning efficiency, to enhance genetic progress in beef cattle in Northern Australia.”
Mr Walton says that Mr Huong’s visit to Rockhampton region with his family over the past two years has had benefits beyond the beef industry.
“He has taken over my home garden and re-planted a range of Vietnamese salad vegetables, some of which seem to be pest-free,” Mr Walton says.
Mr Huong’s PhD research is supervised by Professor Andrew Taylor-Robinson from CQUni and Dr Sally Catt from Monash Uni.
Source: CQ University