August 14, 2009

Foal born from eggs taken from dead mare

A foal named Mira is believed to be the first born from a dead mare whose eggs were extracted for remote fertilization, scientists in New York said.

Rebaqua, a champion barrel-racer, died nearly a year ago of a ruptured intestine at Cornell University Hospital for Animals in Ithaca, N.Y.

Her daughter, Mira, was born Aug. 4 after veterinarian Sylvia Bedford-Guaus and her team microscopically scraped the walls of the dead mare's follicles to collect her eggs, Cornell said in a release Friday.

Nine eggs, or oocytes, then were shipped to veterinarian Katrin Hinrichs at Equine Embryo Laboratory at Texas A&M University. Five of the oocytes were incubated to maturity and fertilized with once-frozen sperm from a champion barrel-racing stallion before being implanted in a surrogate mare.

Rebaqua's owner, Kristin Contro of Binghamton, N.Y., bought the pregnant mare and had her shipped to New York, where she gave birth.