One application of micromanipulation is splitting of embryos into two half- or demi-embryos. This technique has limited commercial value in pigs, sheep, and goats and has been successful in horses in only a few cases. Splitting has been used commercially on a small scale in cattle since the mid 1980s, because more calves are produced due to doubling the number of embryos. Of course, identical twins result if both halves go to term. The technique has probably not become more widely used because it requires a high degree of skill. The equipment used for splitting embryos is also used by some commercial cattle practitioners to remove embryo biopsies consisting of a few cells for determination of sex, using the polymerase chain reaction.
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