In late-December 2022, the Wheeler Lab went to Statz Bros. Dairy to aspirate 24 Jersey donors to collect oocytes. The oocytes were inseminated with Gyr semen to produce the embryos for the Tanzania Pilot Project. The oocyte collection was coordinated by Helix AgriSystems and Paramount Calves. The aspirations were performed by Dr. Andre Dayan of Dayan, LLC and the embryo production was overseen by Dr. Nate Dorshorst of GenOvations.
In early 2023, approximately 80 embryos will be transported and transferred to indigenous recipient cattle. The Tanzanian research partners include the National Ranching Company and the Tanzanian Livestock Research Institute. The Tanzanian collaboration is coordinated by Dr. Moses Neselle of FAO. Prior to and during the pilot project Tanzanian scientists, students and farm managers will be educated and trained in the basics of assisted reproduction, nutritional management and husbandry of embryo transfer calves. This knowledge transfer is an integral part of the pilot project and for future sustainability of the technology and the improved dairy genetics.
Department of Animal Sciences faculty/staff involved in this pilot project and education/training include Dr. Crystal Allen, Dr. Phil Cardoso, Dr. Paula Marchioretto, Dr. Derek Milner, Dr. Chanaka Rabel, Ms. Beth Bangert, Mr. Kenneth Wilson and Dr. Wheeler. Collaborators include Dr. Luiz Nasser of BORN Biotechnologies, Panama City Panama; Dr. Brad Lindsey of Ovitra Biotechnologies, Midway, TX; Mr. John Hull of JHGenetics, Alajuela, Costa Rica; Mr. Cavan Sullivan of Helix AgriSystems, Darlington, WI; Mr. Ken Norgard of Paramount Calves, Darlington, WI; Dr. Andre Dayan of Dayan, LLC, College Station, TX; and Dr. Nate Dorshorst of GenOvations, Lodi, WI.
See the video of the oocyte collection at Statz Bros. Dairy: