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Factors affecting fertility in frozen-thawed boar sperm

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Title: Factors affecting fertility in frozen-thawed boar sperm
Author(s): Spencer, Karl W.
Advisor(s): Knox, Robert V.
Department / Program: Animal Sciences
Discipline: Animal Sciences
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.S.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): frozen-thawed boar sperm frozen sperm semen boar cryopreservation ovulation Artificial insemination (AI) motile sperm fertility pregnancy litter size post-thaw motility biosecurity freezing costs advantages of frozen-thawed sperm
Abstract: Frozen-thawed boar sperm holds the potential to have an impact on the future of the swine industry. Utilization of this technology could improve a swine producer’s ability to access top-tier genetics from around the world, to improve efficiency, profitability, and the quality of product to meet consumer demands. Effective application of frozen-thawed sperm can help reduce the potential risk associated with devastating economic loss due to the spread of disease. Frozen storage of boar sperm also provides a safeguard in the event of disease outbreaks, as genetic material from paternal lines can be preserved and banked for repopulation purposes. Historically these benefits have been masked by reduction in fertility measures such as litter size. The reduced fertility results from the damage sustained by the sperm cell during cryopreservation. However, increased understanding of this damage has lead to improved cryopreservation methods, ultimately increasing post-thaw viability and fertility. Enhancements in breeding technology have also resulted in a better understanding of the AI methods required to achieve acceptable farrowing rates and litter size. Fertility following AI with frozen-thawed sperm is approaching that of liquid stored sperm, and producers may soon reap the benefits of this technology. This thesis will outline the current swine industry, opportunities for utilizing frozen-thawed sperm, the main components of sperm, why they are susceptible to damage, and current freezing and breeding practices. Objective 1 was to develop a cryopreservation protocol for our lab that resulted in consistent post-thaw motility ( ≥ 40%) that would eventually be used by Illinois boar studs for domestic and international sale of frozen sperm. Evaluation with both manual microscopy and CASA methods were conducted to verify quality. A preliminary breeding trial was then conducted to test the fertility of sperm frozen with this method. There were 41 ejaculates from 23 boars used for freezing. Sperm were frozen at 1.4x109 sperm/mL, averaging 55.61.1% (meanSE) motility, following thaw. The samples assessed were not different (P>0.05) in motility when compared with manual or CASA systems, and results were most reliable at a 1:40 sperm dilution. In the preliminary breeding trial, gilts (n=14) were inseminated with either a single (n=10) or double (n=4) AI using 1, 2, or 4x109 motile, frozen-thawed sperm. Overall, the resulting pregnancy rates averaged 71.4% and numbers of normal fetuses per litter averaged 15.51.3 per litter. A feasibility study for freezing cost per ejaculate was estimated at $275/ejaculate or $11/dose of frozen-thawed semen at standard doses of 5x109 total frozen-thawed sperm. This cost estimate did not include genetic value, fixed equipment costs, depreciation, or variable lab space fees. Objective 2 focused on the proper methods for breeding with frozen-thawed boar sperm to achieve fertility. Our hypothesis was that increased numbers of inseminations and increased numbers of motile frozen-thawed sperm would improve pregnancy rate and litter size. Results showed acceptable fertility at high sperm numbers, but also the optimal method for insemination with the lowest dose tested. Gilts (n=111) responded to synchronization methods and were bred with 1, 2, or 4x109 motile frozen-thawed sperm from six boars using a single AI at 32 h, or a double AI, with the first AI at 24 and 32 h following estrus. Ultrasound was conducted at 12 h intervals to estimate the time of ovulation. On day 32 of gestation, overall pregnancy rate (73%) and number of normal fetuses per litter (10.80.5) across all treatments did not differ, and were not affected by number of motile sperm, or the interaction of number of motile sperm and number of inseminations. However, the number of inseminations tended to affect (P=0.14) the number of normal fetuses. Litter size increased with a double AI compared to single AI. Multiple inseminations helped to allow insemination to occur close to ovulation in response to variation in the time of ovulation. Both pregnancy rate and number of normal fetuses were greater when the time of the AI at 32 h occurred closer to the estimated time of ovulation (P<0.05). In addition, other factors such as presence of an abnormal ovary at day 30 decreased (P<0.001) pregnancy rate, while boar affected number of normal fetuses (P<0.01). Analysis of our data using a fertility index revealed doses of 2x109 motile sperm with multiple AI can achieve acceptable fertility with use of less sperm, when compared to AI using 4x109 motile sperm. The methods described here will investigate the potential for improved fertility when using frozen-thawed sperm, while accounting for variation in time of ovulation.
Issue Date: 2010-06-22
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16492
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Karl W. Spencer
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-06-22
Date Deposited: May 2010
 

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