The present study was conducted to establish the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) method for in vitro fertilization and development in quail. The efficiency of fertilization of oocytes was compared 1) between spontaneous and premature ovulation and 2) among testicular round spermatids, elongated spermatids, and immature and mature spermatozoa. The oocytes were injected with a single spermatozoon or spermatid and cultured for 24 h. Cell division was histologically observed with hematoxylin-eosin (HE) and a nucleus-specific fluorescent dye (DAPI). Five of 30 (16.6%) and 4 of 30 (13.3%) oocytes injected with mature sperm were fertilized in the spontaneous and induced ovulation group, respectively. Those embryos showed development at stages II–VII. Half the number (three of six) of the oocytes injected with testicular spermatozoa were fertilized and developed to stages IV–VII, and two of five oocytes injected with elongated spermatids were fertilized and developed to stage VI. All ooocytes injected with round spermatids were unfertilized. The results demonstrate that intracytoplasmic injection of a single sperm into quail oocyte can activate the oocyte and lead to fertilization. Oocytes prematurely ovulated are capable of fertilizing with mature sperm as are those spontaneously ovulated. In addition, the results suggest that the testicular round spermatids may not possess sufficient oocyte-activating potency but that the elongated spermatids and immature spermatozoa are competent to participate in fertilization and early embryonic development in quail.
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