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Hot season is a major constraint to production and reproduction in buffaloes. The present work aimed to investigate the effect of season on ovarian function, developmental competence, and the relative abundance of gene expression in buffalo oocytes. Three experiments were conducted. In experiment 1, pairs of buffalo ovaries were collected during cold season (CS, autumn and winter) and hot season (HS, spring and summer), and the number of antral follicles was recorded. Cumulus oocyte complexes (COCs) were aspirated and evaluated according to their morphology into four Grades. In experiment 2, Grade A and B COCs collected during CS and HS were in vitro matured (IVM) for 24 hours under standard conditions at 38.5 °C in a humidified air of 5% CO2. After IVM, cumulus cells were removed and oocytes were fixed, stained with 1% aceto-orcein, and evaluated for nuclear configuration. In vitro matured buffalo oocytes harvested during CS or HS were in vitro fertilized (IVF) using frozen-thawed buffalo semen and cultured in vitro to the blastocyst stage. In experiment 3, buffalo COCs and in vitro matured oocytes were collected during CS and HS, and then snap frozen in liquid nitrogen for gene expression analysis. Total RNA was extracted from COCs and in vitro matured oocytes, and complementary DNA was synthesized; quantitative Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction was performed for eight candidate genes including GAPDH, ACTB, B2M, GDF9, BMP15, HSP70, and SOD2. The results indicated that HS significantly (P < 0.01) decreased the number of antral follicles and the number of COCs recovered per ovary. The number of Grade A, B, and C COCs was lower (P < 0.05) during HS than CS. In vitro maturation of buffalo oocytes during HS significantly (P < 0.01) reduced the number of oocytes reaching the metaphase II stage and increased the percentage of degenerated oocytes compared with CS. Oocytes collected during HS also showed signs of cytoplasmic degeneration. After IVF, cleavage rate was lower (P < 0.01) for oocytes collected during HS, and the percentage of oocytes arrested at the two-cell stage was higher (P < 0.01) than oocytes IVF during CS. Oocytes matured during CS showed a higher (P < 0.01) blastocyst rate than those matured during HS. Also, COCs recovered in HS showed significant (P < 0.05) upregulation of HSP70 mRNA expression compared with those recovered in CS. For in vitro matured oocytes, CS down regulated the transcript abundance of ACTB and upregulated GAPDH and HSP70 mRNA levels compared with HS condition. In conclusion, HS could impair buffalo fertility by reducing the number of antral follicles and oocyte quality. In vitro maturation of buffalo oocytes during HS impairs their nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation, fertilization, and subsequent embryo development to the morula and blastocyst stages. This could be in part because of the altered gene expression found in COCs and in vitro matured oocytes.