Reproduction in female wild cattle: influence of seasonality on ARTs.
Wild cattle species, often considered less alluring than certain conservation-dependent species, have not attracted the same level of interest as the charismatic megafauna from the general public, private or corporate donors, and other funding agencies. Currently, most wild cattle populations are vulnerable or threatened with extinction. The implementation of reproductive technologies to maintain genetically healthy cattle populations in situ and ex situ has been considered for more than 30 years. Protocols developed for domestic cattle breeds have been used with some success in various wild cattle species. However, inherent differences in the natural life history of these species makes extrapolation of domestic cattle protocols difficult, and in some cases, minimally effective. Reproductive seasonality, driven by either photoperiod or nutritional resource availability, has significant influence on the success of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). This review focuses on the physiological processes that differ in breeding (ovulatory) and non-breeding (anovulatory) seasons in female cattle, and the potential methods used to overcome these challenges. Techniques to be discussed within the context of seasonality include: estrus synchronization and ovulation induction, ovarian superstimulation, artificial insemination (AI), multiple ovulation embryo transfer (MOET), and ovum pick-up (OPU) with in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer (ET).