1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Investigate which tools are most valuable for determining the quality of frozen-thawed semen so that this will facilitate an improvement in fertility when using frozen semen thus resulting in increases in the numbers of valued boars that have semen cryopreserved and in producers who use frozen semen to improve their genetics.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Aim 1: Semen will be collected, cryopreserved and analyzed post-thaw using computer automated semen analysis in order to categorize the samples into Good, Moderate and Poor quality. Additional analyses will also be performed using flow cytometry, in vitro fertilization, and sperm/egg binding assays. Based on the quality categorization a gilt artificial insemination trial will be performed. The data from these analyses will be used in a multivariate analysis to determine a parsimonious model for predicting the best opportunities for achieving fertility with frozen-thawed boar sperm. Aim 2: The new model derived from the data in Aim 1 will then be used to perform an artificial insemination trial based on the new semen quality rankings. Aim 3: The scope of this aim will include model development derived from Aims 1 and 2, a survey of the swine industry to determine their level of knowledge about swine artificial insemination, and the creation of workshops for boar owners and stud managers to transfer the technologies obtain in Aims 1 and 2.
3. Progress Report
Efforts in the first year of the project included standardization of the methods used for evaluation of a sperm sample and specifically included comparisons of methods to 1) evaluate sperm concentration, 2) determine which cryopreservation diluent was optimal for boar semen, and 3) a comparison of methods to determine the optimal sample thawing method. The information derived from these initial experiments was then used to cryopreserve samples for the actual experiments. Analyses of the post-thaw quality on the study samples was performed and the samples have been sent to the collaborators for assessment of in vitro quality and for the fertility trials. ADODR monitoring for this project was done by regular phone contact, by teleconferencing, and by email.