The potential power of embryo work can be illustrated by a project which was run by former RBST Trustee Charles Castle, a veterinary surgeon with the Beech House Veterinary Surgery in Towcester and a Northern Dairy Shorthorn (NDS) breeder. 

The project, which was part-funded by RBST, involved embryo transfer work both to boost the numbers of NDS on the ground and to put embryos into long-term storage.

This work began in 2009, when there were just 52 registered breeding NDS females.  The project succeeded in getting 18 live calves on the ground with 54 embryos in long-term storage.  The animals that were born from transplanted embryos have gone on to breed themselves, contributing significantly to the breed’s growth with the number of breeding females having reached 210 over a 10-year period.

With the experience gained from this project, RBST began its own programme of embryo collection and storage in 2015. 

Typically, collections from four females are required from a full Gene Bank complement of eight embryos, at a cost in the region of £3,200 for each full collection.

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