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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NATIONAL ANIMAL GERMPLASM PROGRAM (NAGP)

Location: Plant And Animal Genetic Resources Preservation Research Unit

Title: Evaluation of new techniques to enhance the use of A.I. on farm.

Authors
item PURDY, PHIL
item Stobart, Robert - UNIVERSITY OF WY
item Larson, Brent - UNIVERSITY OF WY
item BLACKBURN, HARVEY

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 21, 2009
Publication Date: January 21, 2009
Citation: PPurdy, P.H., Stobart, R.H., Larson, B., Blackburn, H.D. 2009. Evaluation of new techniques to enhance the use of A.I. on farm. American Sheep Industry Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, January 21-24, 2009.

Interpretive Summary: Artificial insemination (AI) has played a seminal role in facilitating genetic improvement in dairy, beef and swine industries. The technology has not been routinely employed by the sheep industry and as a result genetic improvement has not been fully realized. The University of Wyoming and the USDA-ARS National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) have recognized this void and are collaborating to address the problem. We have taken a two pronged approach to our research. We recognized that there is a need for the NAGP to be able to transport and cryopreserve ram semen which was collected in remote locations for genebank development. This approach can be applied in breeding programs wishing to introduce new genetics into flocks or even enabling a commercial enterprise to collect semen for a customer and cryopreserve it in a laboratory at a distant location. The ability to cryopreserve semen samples is the first aspect of increasing the use of superior genetics; the second is an inexpensive method to artificially inseminate sheep. To date laparoscopic insemination has produced the most repeatable results but this method is expensive. Furthermore, the procedure requires a high level of expertise to achieve acceptable levels of fertility. Therefore, the purpose of our research has been to develop methods of semen handling and AI that is simple, inexpensive, and effective and will enable the exchange of genetics across the country.

Technical Abstract: Artificial insemination (AI) has played a seminal role in facilitating genetic improvement in dairy, beef and swine industries. The technology has not been routinely employed by the sheep industry and as a result genetic improvement has not been fully realized. The University of Wyoming and the USDA-ARS National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP) have recognized this void and are collaborating to address the problem. We have taken a two pronged approach to our research. We recognized that there is a need for the NAGP to be able to transport and cryopreserve ram semen which was collected in remote locations for genebank development. This approach can be applied in breeding programs wishing to introduce new genetics into flocks or even enabling a commercial enterprise to collect semen for a customer and cryopreserve it in a laboratory at a distant location. The ability to cryopreserve semen samples is the first aspect of increasing the use of superior genetics; the second is an inexpensive method to artificially inseminate sheep. To date laparoscopic insemination has produced the most repeatable results but this method is expensive. Furthermore, the procedure requires a high level of expertise to achieve acceptable levels of fertility. Therefore, the purpose of our research has been to develop methods of semen handling and AI that is simple, inexpensive, and effective and will enable the exchange of genetics across the country.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014