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

ry a male-producing Y chromosome. Following separation into female and male populations, sperm are frozen and stored for future insemination. The sexing procedure does not involve genetic modification - it simply separates the female- and male-producing sperm. High accuracy of the procedure results in sperm samples containing greater than 90 percent of the desired sex. All sex-selected dolphin calves born to date have been female, giving a 100 percent success rate for the Center's efforts.

At 2:09 p.m. Nov. 28, 2008, Tobie gave birth to a healthy female calf under the watchful eyes of SeaWorld's dolphin trainers, animal care specialists and veterinarians. The calf, which has been named Cocoa, weighed approximately 30 pounds and measured between 3-1/2 and 4 feet. The first sex-selected zoological species, another Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, was born at SeaWorld San Diego in October 2005. The other sex-selected dolphins were born at the park in September 2006 and May 2007.

"We're elated about the birth of this calf," said Robeck. "This achievement is a significant step in the continued application of sperm-sexing technology to wildlife species management, further demonstrating and bolstering SeaWorld and Busch Gardens' innovative zoological stewardship."

The successful birth was a collaborative effort between SeaWorld's reproductive physiologists, veterinary, animal care and training staffs.

"To produce a dolphin whose sex was predetermined is a major accomplishment for the zoological community," said Mike Scarpuzzi, vice president of zoological operations at SeaWorld San Diego.

While this reproductive technology will significantly assist zoological institutions around the globe to optimally manage their species' genetic diversity, the knowledge gained from this scientific research may ultimately have application in marine and terrestrial animals in the wild, including
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SOURCE SeaWorld San Diego
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