The aim of this study was to obtain mature ova or embryos at a single cell stage, which can be used in avian transgenesis and nuclear transfer through multiple ovulations, in vitro fertilization and culture. Chicken anterior pituitary extract (CAPE) or acetone-dried chicken anterior pituitary extract (ACAPE) was used to induce multiple ovulations in hens pretreated with pregnant mare' serum gonadotrophin (PMSG). In vitro fertilization of the multiple ovulated ova was performed by inseminating sperm onto the germinal disks in m-Ringer' solution and incubating the ova at 41
for 10 h in DME-F12 medium containing 20% liquid albumen. The in vitro fertilization process was observed using an environmental scanning electron microscope. When normal laying hens (white Leghorn) were administered daily with PMSG (100 IU), egg laying ceased in most hens within 3 to 8 days. Ovulation began to occur about 7.5 h after injection of CAPE and ACAPE. The number of ovulated ova was 1.00
0.52 and 2.20
0.45, respectively, after receiving 100, 200 and 300 mg CAPE. The number of ovulated ova was 2.00
0.69 and 3.00
1.22, respectively, after receiving 10, 15 and 20 mg ACAPE. The fertilized and cultured ova were able to develop into embryos up to the 32 cell stage. The present experiments demonstrated that multiple ovulations can be induced by CAPE and ACAPE successfully, and the ova resulted from the treatment retained the capability for further fertilization and embryonic development. These data provide new information to support the establishment of an in vitro culture system for future avian transgenesis studies.