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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Assessment of Male Influences on Fertility

Author
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Journal Of Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 24, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: This paper discusses why it is important to evaluate males as individuals and how advances made in understanding and measurement of sperm function can improve reproductive efficiency in poultry. Commercial turkey breeding relies on pooling semen from multiple toms. It generally is assumed that sperm in good quality semen from all toms are equally fecund. However, using DNA fingerprinting to determine paternity efficiency after pooling ejaculates from seven or more toms, 18 of 26 males produced very few, or no, offspring. In addition, semen evaluation using traditional measures of poultry semen quality, namely semen volume, concentration, sperm viability and subjective motility assessment were poor predictors of paternity. In recent years a concentrated effort has been made to develop and evaluate methods which quantitate sperm function in poultry. Methods are reviewed to measure some of these traits: sperm motility, sperm storage in the hen and sperm binding and penetration of the ovum. Data supporting use of these tools for managing flock fertility from the male perspective are explored.

Technical Abstract: This paper discusses why it is important to evaluate males as individuals and how advances made in understanding and measurement of sperm function can improve reproductive efficiency in poultry. Commercial turkey breeding relies on pooling semen from multiple toms. It generally is assumed that sperm in good quality semen from all toms are equally fecund. However, using DNA fingerprinting to determine paternity efficiency after pooling ejaculates from seven or more toms, 18 of 26 males produced very few, or no, offspring. In addition, semen evaluation using traditional measures of poultry semen quality, namely semen volume, concentration, sperm viability and subjective motility assessment were poor predictors of paternity. In recent years a concentrated effort has been made to develop and evaluate methods which quantitate sperm function in poultry. Methods are reviewed to measure some of these traits: sperm motility, sperm storage in the hen and sperm binding and penetration of the ovum. Data supporting use of these tools for managing flock fertility from the male perspective are explored.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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