Andrew Michael has taken sheep breeding beyond the cutting edge and into new territory, with a new program that is super-charging the speed of genetic gain in his flock. Known as JIVET – juvenile in vitro embryo transfer – the program has already delivered stud lambs years in advance of those from his conventionally joined flock, thanks to a combination of old-school visual appraisal and traditional measurement techniques, with the latest in DNA testing and embryo collection methods.
Put simply, the program identifies superior breeding stock at a very early age (within weeks of birth); uses advanced embryo technology to collect eggs from ewe lambs at approximately six to eight weeks of age; joining then occurs in a test tube before the lambs are carried to term in surrogate mothers.
While traditional breeding methods mean that most ewes are not joined until 18 months of age, the JIVET method is delivering the first drop of lambs using genetics from elite ewe lambs six months after the birth of those lambs.
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