The effect of sex on pig conceptus development to day 12 of gestation was investigated. On day 2 of gestation, reciprocal embryo transfers were performed resulting in four groups (Yorkshire–Yorkshire, Yorkshire–Meishan, Meishan–Yorkshire and Meishan–Meishan). Conceptuses at day 12 were recovered from each recipient and diameter, as well as DNA, protein and oestradiol content were determined for individual conceptuses. The sex of individual conceptuses at day 12 was determined by amplification of a fragment of the pig SRY gene, using the polymerase chain reaction. Embryos developed more rapidly to day 12 in Yorkshire recipients, but there was no detectable effect of sex on the diameter, DNA, protein or oestradiol content of conceptuses from any transfer group. Thus, no sex effect was apparent under conditions either promoting or retarding the rate of early pig blastocyst growth. These results provide strong evidence that pig embryonic development occurs at a rate determined by uterine environment and not by sex of the conceptus.
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