Study: Choosing Sex of Future Foals Could be Possible

Breeders might soon be able to use sex-sorted stallion semen to pick the sex of their future foals.
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Based on recent study results, the suspense of waiting to know a new foal’s sex could be a thing of the past: Breeders might soon be able to choose ahead of time whether they’d like a colt or a filly out of a specific mating.

As reported by Juan Samper, DVM, MSc, PhD, Dipl. ACT from JCS Veterinary Reproductive Services Ltd., in British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues, a Texas-based company (Sexing Technologies) could offer "sex-sorted stallion semen" that allows horse owners to pick the sex of their future foals. However the current system has several limitations and substantially more research is needed before the process is implemented worldwide, Samper said.

"There are many companies and patents claiming that they can alter the sex ratio of the offspring, but only a technique called high-speed flow cytometry can separate X- and Y-bearing sperm," explained Samper.

High-speed flow cytometry involves taking a fresh ejaculate and running the sample through the high-tech cell-sorting machinery, which separates the X (female) sperm from the Y (male) sperm. The resultant samples are between 90% and 95% pure, meaning that about 5% of the sorted sperm won’t produce a foal of the desired sex

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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