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A Scientific Milestone: Sex of Dolphin at SeaWorld San Diego Determined Prior to Conception
Date:1/16/2009

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the world's rare sex-selected zoological species, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, was born Nov. 28 at SeaWorld San Diego. The birth further validates the park's ability to preferentially produce female or male offspring through the use of sperm sexing and artificial insemination technologies. The SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center is the only organization in the world to apply preferential sex-selection reproductive research to exotic animals.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090116/CLF054)

"Our artificial insemination program has produced four sex-selected dolphin calves at SeaWorld. This birth further proves this assisted reproductive technology can be applied successfully in a zoological setting," said Dr. Justine O'Brien, scientific director of the Center. "There are many species, such as dolphins and elephants, which in the wild exist in single-sex dominated groups. Our continued advancements in sex-selection technology will allow zoos to provide optimal social environments and maintain species' genetic diversity."

In November 2007, O'Brien and Dr. Todd Robeck, Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) corporate director of theriogenology (the study of animal reproduction), artificially inseminated Tobie, a 17-year-old, 440-pound Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at SeaWorld San Diego. O'Brien and Robeck used sperm previously sorted then cryopreserved at the Center, which is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment necessary to sort and freeze sperm.

Sperm sexing by flow cytometry utilizes a technology owned and developed by the biotechnology company XY Inc. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center modified the technology to separate dolphin sperm that carry a female-producing X chromosome from sperm that car
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SOURCE SeaWorld San Diego
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