The Audubon Nature Institute and XY Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo., say they have developed a process allowing the sex of felines to be chosen before they’re born.
The technology, developed by XY, resulted in a litter of healthy kittens, produced from embryos fertilized with sexed sperm, born at Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES) in New Orleans on Oct. 11, according to the nature institute.
“The knowledge gained through this research will help scientists and conservationists cope with threats to the most seriously endangered feline species by developing new reproductive technologies and reintroduction techniques necessary to ensure their long-term survival,” said Betsy Dresser, Audubon Nature Institute senior vice president and ACRES director of research.
ACRES’ wildlife conservation-directed research focuses on use of reproductive technologies such as cryopreservation of sperm and embryos, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
“Sex selection is critically important in the race against extinction of endangered exotic feline populations,” said C. Earle Pope, the ACRES research team leader for the project. “Our ability to determine the birth of female felines in captivity will help advance the work of animal preservationists trying to increase the numbers of endangered felines in the wild.”