Identification of bovine embryos cultured in groups by attachment of barcodes to the zona pellucida

Sergi Novo, Roser Morató, Oriol Penon, Sara Duran, Leonardo Barrios, Carme Nogués, José Antonio Plaza, Luisa Pérez-García, Teresa Mogas*, Elena Ibáñez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The low number of oocytes collected from unstimulated donors by ovum pick-up means that embryos produced from each individual female have to be cultured individually or in very small groups. However, it has been demonstrated that single-embryo culture is less efficient than embryo culture in groups. To overcome this limitation, we developed a direct embryo-tagging system, which allows the collective culture of embryos from different origins whilst preserving their pedigree. Presumptive bovine zygotes were tagged with eight wheat-germ agglutinin biofunctionalised polysilicon barcodes attached to the outer surface of the zona pellucida (ZP). Four different barcodes were used to encode groups of 20-25 embryos, which were then cultured in the same drop. Cleavage, Day-7 and Day-8 blastocysts and barcode retention rates were assessed. In addition, Day-7 blastocysts were vitrified and warmed. Barcode attachment to the ZP of bovine embryos affected neither in vitro embryo development nor post-warming survival of the tagged embryos. All the embryos maintained barcodes attached until Day 8 of culture (3.63 ± 0.37 barcodes per embryo) and could be identified. In conclusion, identification of embryos by barcodes attached to the ZP is feasible and will allow the culture of embryos from different donors in the same drop. © CSIRO 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-652
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Collective culture
  • Embryo tagging
  • Microdevice
  • Ovum pick-up
  • Polysilicon


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