The efficiency of producing embryos using in vitro technologies in livestock species rarely exceeds the 30–40% threshold, indicating that the proportion of oocytes that fail to develop after in vitro fertilization and culture is considerably large. Considering that the intrinsic quality of the oocyte is one of the main factors affecting blastocyst yield, the precise identification of noninvasive cellular or molecular markers that predict oocyte competence is of major interest to research and practical applications. The aim of this review was to explore the current literature on different noninvasive markers associated with oocyte quality in the bovine model. Apart from some controversial findings, the presence of cycle-related structures in ovaries, a follicle size between 6 and 10 mm, large number of surrounding cumulus cells, slightly expanded investment without dark areas, large oocyte diameter (>120 microns), dark cytoplasm, and the presence of a round and smooth first polar body have been associated with better competence. In addition, the combination of oocyte and zygote selection via brilliant cresyl blue (BCB) test, spindle imaging, and the anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy together with studies decoding molecular cues in oocyte maturation have the potential to further optimize the identification of oocytes with better developmental competence for in-vitro-derived technologies in livestock species.
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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Assisted reproductive technology
- Embryo development
- In vitro production
- Livestock production
- Oocyte competence