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ARS Hosts International Conference on Preserving Boar Semen

By Tara Weaver-Missick
August 6, 1999

Scientists from around the world will meet next week to discuss critical research findings and technological innovations in boar (male swine) semen preservation at the Fourth International Conference on Boar Semen Preservation, Aug. 8-11, in Beltsville, Md.

The Agricultural Research Service, the chief scientific agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is hosting the conference. ARS is also one of four major sponsors of the event.

The conference was initiated in 1985 when Kjell Larsson of Sweden and animal physiologist Lawrence A. Johnson, head of ARS’ Germplasm and Gamete Physiology Laboratory in Beltsville, organized the first meeting in Uppsala, Sweden. It is generally held every five years. The purpose is to stimulate thinking, research and applications of principles regarding semen preservation and swine artificial insemination worldwide. Scientists, practitioners, and technicians attend the conference to discuss topics concerning swine reproduction.

The conference will include 25 oral presentations from leading scientists in the field of swine reproduction. Topics covered include gamete interaction, in vitro semen evaluation, freezing boar semen, and current status of artificial insemination usage worldwide. The meeting also will offer more than 50 poster presentations.

A highlight of the evening program will be a presentation by Professor E.J.C. Polge, now retired from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Polge has been in the forefront of livestock semen and embryo preservation research for the past 50 years and was the first to successfully freeze bovine semen in 1949.

Johnson is chairman of the conference organizing committee. He and his colleague, animal physiologist John R. Dobrinsky, will present research developments in the “Emerging Technologies for the Next Millennium” session. Johnson will present new developments in sex preselection for swine, while Dobrinsky will present his recent work on a successful method to preserve swine embryos.

Scientific contact: Lawrence A. Johnson, ARS Germplasm and Gamete Physiology Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-8545, fax (301) 504-5123,

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