Study: Mules Make Excellent Moms for Equine Embryo Transfer

Female mules can’t reproduce naturally. But researchers found they can make excellent surrogate dams for embryo transfer.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Study: Mules Make Excellent Moms for Equine Embryo Transfer
Molly mules can’t reproduce naturally. But researchers found they can make excellent surrogate dams for embryo transfer. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Eduardo L. Gastal, Southern Illinois University
When considering recipient mares for embryo transfer, don’t overlook mules, despite their inability to reproduce naturally. According to a new study’s results, mules make “amazing” surrogate dams.

“Mules can host the embryo of a mare, gestate normally, produce a good amount of milk, and have an incredible maternal instinct and ability,” said Eduardo L. Gastal, DVM, MS, PhD, Professor in the Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition at Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale.

“It’s curious for a hybrid that doesn’t usually have offspring to be such a good mother like this,” Gastal said. “It’s an amazing thing to see.”

In their study, Gastal and his fellow researchers transferred 8-day-old horse embryos into two groups of recipients: seven cyclic horse mares and seven acyclic mules. For the horse recipients, the scientists synthetically synchronized the reproductive cycle of the recipient with the donor mare. For mules, however, the research team prepared them with hormonal treatments (estrogen and progestogen). They then followed the pregnancies with ultrasound and blood sampling

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

When do you begin to prepare/stock up on products/purchase products for these skin issues?
91 votes · 91 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!