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Application of computer-assisted semen analysis to explain variations in pig fertility

Broekhuijse, M. L. W. J., Šoštarić, E., Feitsma, H., Gadella, B. M.
Journal of animal science 2012 v.90 no.3 pp. 779-789
boars, farrowing rate, genetic lines, insemination, piglets, semen, sowing, sperm motility, spermatozoa
Sperm quality is often evaluated through computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) and is an indicator of boar fertility. The aim of this research was to study the relationship between CASA motility parameters and fertility results in pigs. Insemination records and semen parameters from a total of 45,532 ejaculates collected over a 3-yr period were used. The statistical model for analysis of fertility data from these inseminations included factors related to sow productivity. The boar- and semen-related variance (direct boar effect) were corrected for the effects of individual boar, genetic line of the boar, age of the boar, days between ejaculations, number of sperm cells in an ejaculate, number of sperm cells in an insemination dose, and AI station. The remaining variance was analyzed if semen motility parameters had a significant effect. This analysis revealed significant (P < 0.05) effects of progressive motility, velocity curvilinear, and beat cross frequency on farrowing rate (FR). Total motility, velocity average path, velocity straight line, and amplitude of lateral head displacement affected (P < 0.05) total number of piglets born (TNB). Boar- and semen-related parameters explained 5.3% of the variation in FR and 5.9% of the variation in TNB. Motility parameters, measured by CASA, explained 9% of the boar- and semen-related variation in FR and 10% of the boar- and semen-related variation in TNB. Individual boar and genetic line of the boar affected (P < 0.0001) the variation in FR and TNB. No differences (P > 0.05) were observed between effects of AI stations on fertility outcome, underscoring the objectivity of the CASA system used. Motility parameters can be measured with CASA to assess sperm motility in an objective manner. On the basis of the motility pattern, CASA enables one to discriminate between the fertilizing capacity of ejaculates, although this depends on the genetic line of the boar used in AI stations.