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Science

First Bison Calf Conceived Using In Vitro Dies, But CSU Scientists Remain Hopeful

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William A. Cotton
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Colorado State University Photography
IVF1 was the first bison calf in the world to be conceived using in vitro fertilization with eggs and sperm collected from Yellowstone bison.

The first bison calf to be conceived using in vitro fertilization has died. The 11-month-old calf, named IVF1, was part of the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd.

IVF1 was born in a Colorado State University lab and released into to the herd in March. She was the first calf in the world to be conceived using eggs and sperm collected from Yellowstone bison, one of the last genetically pure herds in the country. The cause of death could not be determined.

Jennifer Barfield, a reproductive physiologist with the Colorado State University Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory, is the lead scientist on the project. She said the CSU team is devastated by her death, but, with over a thousand frozen embryos in the lab, in vitro fertilization will continue to be used to grow the herd.

"We're going to try this breeding season to get some more of our females on campus here pregnant with those embryos and hopefully we'll get some more healthy calves that can eventually go out to our herd," she said.

The Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd announced the death of IVF1 on its Facebook page while also sharing some good news: new calves.

The herd, which lives at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space, recently welcomed the births of eight calves who were conceived through natural breeding. The new additions bring the herd total up to 51 bison

"The biggest thing we have going on in the herd right now is that we're having new births on a weekly basis which is exciting and they are adorable," said Barfield.

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