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Enhancement of sperm survival for improved efficiency of artificial insemination in pigs - LS3309

This is a six month Bridge-Link proposal aimed at facilitating the initiation of a full-Link project that has recently been submitted for consideration. The specific aims of the Bridge-Link project are (1) to raise polyclonal antibodies against apical plasma membrane (APM) preparations derived from the porcine oviduct, and (2) to investigate methods for obtaining APM from in-vitro cultured porcine oviduct epithelial cells. Although these are highly specific objectives, they form part of a long term project which aims to investigate the potential oviduct-derived proteins for the enhancement of sperm survival both in vitro (for the extension of semen shelf-life) and in vivo (for relaxing the required degree of synchrony needed between insemination and ovulation), thus improving the liklihood of successful artificial insemination. The long term project is undertaken as a partnership between Dr Bill Holt (the Institute of Zoology, London), Professor Paul Watson (Royal Veterinary College, London) and Dr Alireza Fazeli (University of Sheffield). The Full-LINK proposla has been developed with Sygen International as an Industry Paper.

By enhancing the efficiency of semen technology and artificial insemination (AI), the overall aim of the project addresses the Defra policy objective of reducing the environmental impact of agricultural wastes and effluents. Enhancing sperm survival, both in vitro and in vivo, would help overcome the requirement for very large numbers of sperm to be inseminated for porcine AI (typically 3 billion sperm per insemination). This requiremtn alone means that semen distribution centres are constrained to keep large numbers of boars, but they are unable to distribute semen from highest genetic quality animals as widely as desiredwithout sacrificing theri expected conception rates.

The ultimate objectives of this research are to find ways of increasing the effectiveness of sperm storage media by identifying natural factors that maintain sperm viability within the female reproductive tract. With this knowledge it would be possible to enhance the shelf-life of diluted porcine semen and/or increase the economically effective dilution rate for semen. Either of these outcomes would allow the pig breeding industry to reduce the numbers of breeding boars and sows required, while at the same time allowing the more effective dissemination of high quality genetic traits.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Enhancement of sperm survival for improved efficiency of artificial insemination in pigs   (41k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2003

Cost: £27,309
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Zoology
Livestock Farming              
Fields of Study