The present study aimed to elucidate the developmental kinetics, growth potential, and viability of bovine embryos produced in vitro with sexed semen. Bovine oocytes were fertilized in vitro using unsorted and X-sorted semen from the same Holstein bulls, and the kinetics of in vitro development were continuously monitored for 10 d through time-lapse cinematography. The blastocyst formation rate was lower in the X-sorted group than in the unsorted group (P < 0.01), whereas the normal fertilization rate did not differ between groups. Morphokinetic evaluation revealed that the incidence of blastomere fusion during the first cleavage division, termed reverse cleavage, was higher in the X-sorted group (P < 0.01). Furthermore, embryos produced with X-sorted semen showed slower growth throughout the developmental period than embryos produced with unsorted semen (P < 0.01). The cell number of the trophectoderm and inner cell mass of blastocysts was reduced in the X-sorted group (P < 0.01). In embryos that developed to the blastocyst stage, the hatchability (P < 0.05), chromosomal normality (P < 0.01), and survivability after the conventional frozen-thawing process (P < 0.05) were reduced in the X-sorted group compared to that in the unsorted group, indicating a compromised viability of embryos derived from X-sorted semen. Taken together, the first cleavage dysmorphism, delayed embryo growth, and impaired viability of embryos developed to the blastocyst stage may explain the mechanism of reduced fertility in embryos derived from sexed semen. The kinetic evaluation of early embryo development and de-selection of embryos presenting the aberrant first cleavage would be valid for clinical application to produce sexed embryos with high implantation potential.
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