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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #208190


item Long, Julie
item Bakst, Murray

Submitted to: Midwest Poultry Federation Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/13/2007
Publication Date: 3/13/2007
Citation: Long, J.A., Bakst, M.R. 2007. The current state of semen storage and ai technology. Midwest Poultry Federation Proceedings. Published in CD-ROM format. pp. 148-152

Interpretive Summary: It has been long recognized that the ability to store turkey semen for 24h in vitro without a significant loss in fertility upon insemination would benefit the commercial turkey industry. Using a systematic approach of identifying why and how turkey sperm lose functional competence during semen storage, we have shown that both the lipid and carbohydrate content of turkey sperm membranes are altered during 24h of aerobic storage at 4°C. This new knowledge has enabled the application of novel extender components that should improve the fertilizing capacity of stored turkey semen.

Technical Abstract: Turkeys are the only commercial livestock species completely dependent upon artificial insemination (AI) for fertile egg production. Given that every breeder hen must be inseminated weekly during egg production, AI is both time and labor-intensive. Methods for the timing, frequency, semen dosage and site of semen deposition that were optimized 10-20 years ago are still in use today and yield exceptional fertility rates when used with freshly collected semen. This necessitates keeping toms on the same farm as hens and handling toms as frequently as hens for AI. The turkey industry would benefit greatly if semen could be stored for 24-48h without affecting fertility. Currently, extended turkey semen is stored for no longer than 6h, and fertility rates slowly drop after 12 wks of egg production when stored semen is used for AI. Our research aim is to determine how and when turkey sperm lose functional competence during semen storage, and to use this knowledge as a basis for developing successful sperm storage methods in vitro. We summarize here a series of studies characterizing biochemical and cellular changes associated with storage of turkey sperm at 4°C.