Evonik Invests in In Ovo Gender Determination


InOvo, founded in 2013 by scientists affiliated to the University of Leiden is a company vying for a breakthrough in early embryonic gender determination. According to press reports their system is based on removal of a sample of (presumably) allantoic fluid from the egg prior to the time of setting to determine the presence of a biomarker applying mass spectrometry.

If this process requires genetic manipulation for the placement of a biomarker on a chromosome determining gender, the process will in all probability not be acceptable to the major breeders who have eschewed any application which could be regarded as genetic manipulation. Furthermore, the abstraction of fluid from an egg prior to incubation for automated assay will require equipment and installations reminiscent of the gender-sorter developed by Embrex in the late 1990s which proved financially infeasible.

The investment made by Evonik will be used by InOvo to advance technology from a laboratory demonstration of proof of principle to hopefully a commercial prototype.