Million Dollar Gift Will Speed Equine Reproductive Research at Colorado State University

A $1 million gift from the Lucy G. Whittier Foundation of California has been designated to help Colorado State University researchers develop techniques to preserve the genetic material of important breeding horses.

The Whittier Foundation gift will help support the Preserving Equine Genetics program’s research, including the development and perfection of techniques for freezing equine eggs and embryos, fertilizing eggs by sperm injection, transferring eggs, collecting and maturing of eggs, and selecting sex of embryos. For the horse industry, development of these techniques is critical to moving genetic material throughout the world more successfully, extending the reproductive lives of important breeding horses, and making possible the indefinite preservation of eggs, embryo and sperm.

The gift also will help the Preserving Equine Genetics program bring visiting scientists from around the world to Colorado State.

The Preserving Equine Genetics program has grown out of Colorado State’s nationally recognized veterinary medicine program. With the largest staff of equine reproductive scientists in the world, Colorado State has a long history of developing assisted reproductive techniques. Techniques developed at Colorado State include collection of semen, shipping of cooled semen and embryos, artificial insemination and the development of the world’s first test tube horse. The program’s practice of making research immediately available to the horse industry has enabled these techniques to be quickly accepted and commonly used by modern breeders.

Private sources of funding are vital to the Preserving Equine Genetics program, which receives virtually no federal or state aid.

"Support from horse enthusiasts remains the driving force behind our research. Our donors make progress and breakthroughs possible," said Ed Squires, scientist at Colorado State who developed and directs the Preserving Equine Genetics program.

For more information about the program, call Squires at (970) 491-8409.