In general, the majority of immature bovine oocytes fail to develop to the blastocyst stage following maturation, fertilization and culture in vitro. The evidence suggests that while culture conditions during in vitro embryo production can impact on the developmental potential of the early embryo, the intrinsic quality of the oocyte is the key factor determining the proportion of oocytes developing to the blastocyst stage. In addition, evidence suggests that the period of post-fertilization embryo culture is the most critical in determining blastocyst quality. This paper reviews the current literature, with emphasis on the bovine model, demonstrating evidence for an effect of oocyte origin and/or in vitro maturation conditions on the developmental capacity and gene expression patterns in the oocyte. Furthermore, the well-documented effects of post-fertilization culture environment on embryo gene expression and quality are highlighted.
University College Dublin ->