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Beyond the Bale : December 2015
ON FARM 31 R&D INTO LOW COST, NON-SURGICAL Cervical AI is a cheaper, less invasive and simpler alternative to the current industry practice of veterinary administered laparoscopic AI. Currently, laparoscopic AI is necessary for the insemination of frozen- thawed semen due to the inability of this sperm type to move through the ewe’s cervix and fertilise available eggs in the upper tract. The deposition of hundreds of millions of viable ‘frozen-thawed’ sperm into the cervix results in a conception rate of only 20 per cent. This contrasts to the 70 per cent achieved with natural service, or cervical AI with ‘fresh’ semen, or laparoscopic AI with ‘frozen-thawed’ semen. The aim of this project is to investigate why seemingly fertile frozen-thawed ram sperm which are motile and viable are not able to traverse the ewe’s cervix. Why are fresh sperm able to cross the cervix into the uterus but frozen-thawed sperm cannot? To date, state-of-the-art proteomic techniques and novel in vivo cell imaging systems have been used to investigate the issue. Through this research, major progress has been made in the basic understanding of the composition of seminal plasma, the sperm membrane and cervical mucus as well as the interactions between them. Use of advanced in utero, in vivo and in vitro sperm analyses have revealed that the survival and transport of ram sperm through the cervix of the ewe is not linked to their motility or velocity but rather their exposure to seminal plasma. This project is now focused on identifying the seminal plasma components that increase cervical penetration and increase fertility. The anticipated return to woolgrowers from this research is expected to come primarily through (1) a reduction in the cost per ewe of AI, and (2) an increase in the number of ewes conceiving to AI from very high genetic merit sires thereby accelerating genetic progress throughout the industry. This work is being funded by NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association Trust, AWI and the University of Sydney. MORE INFORMATION firstname.lastname@example.org (02) 9351 3363 A project, headed by Dr Simon de Graaf of the University of Sydney, seeks to improve the function of frozen ram semen so that it can be effectively used in low cost, non-surgical, ‘cervical’ artificial insemination (AI) programs. Assessment of sperm quality by fluorescent staining. Damaged cells are red or red/green while non- damaged cells are not stained. The non-damaged frozen-thawed sperm still cannot navigate the cervix well and only 20% of ewes conceive following cervical AI. Research is focused on identifying the cervical penetration trait within seminal plasma to rectify this problem and increase fertility. 4μm ‘CERVICAL’ ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION USING FROZEN SEMEN
In the Shops - March 2016