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Boar sperm quality in lines of pigs selected for either ovulation rate or uterine capacity

Freking, B. A., Purdy, P. H., Spiller, S. F., Welsh, C. S., Blackburn, H. D.
Journal of animal science 2012 v.90 no.8 pp. 2515
analysis of variance, boars, breeding lines, breeding season, computers, correlation, farrowing, genetic variation, germplasm, line differences, litter size, ovulation, selection response, semen, shipping, sperm concentration, sperm motility, spermatozoa, statistical models, thawing, uterus
Selection for 11 generations in swine for ovulation rate (OR) or uterine capacity (UC) resulted in significant changes in component traits of litter size. Our objective was to conserve the unique germplasm for the future and to characterize sperm quality as a correlated response to the selection criterion imposed compared with an unselected control line (CO). Boars representing genetic diversity available in all 3 lines were produced in 2 farrowing seasons. Season 1 was born in September 2005 and was sampled for semen characteristics in October 2006. Season 2 was born in March 2006 and was sampled for semen characteristics in February and March 2007. Each boar (n = 60) was collected twice. The sperm-rich fraction was obtained, and volume and concentration of sperm cells were measured to estimate total sperm production. Each ejaculate was extended 1:3 (vol/vol) with Androhep Plus (Minitube, Verona, WI) and was packed for shipping to the National Animal Germplasm Program laboratory for processing into frozen straws. Semen quality was measured by computer-assisted semen analysis at 3 semen processing points: fresh (FR), 24 h after extender added (E), and postthaw (PT). A mixed model ANOVA was applied to the data. Fixed effects of farrowing season, line, and 2-way interactions were fitted. The random effect of boar (n = 60) within farrowing season and line was used to test line differences. Sperm concentration was not different (P = 0.18) among the lines (0.594 × 109, 0.691 × 109, and 0.676 × 109 cells/mL for CO, OR, and UC lines, respectively). However, significance (P = 0.04) was detected for the volume of the sperm-rich fraction, greatest for OR (86.4 mL), intermediate for UC (75.5 mL), and least for CO (70.2 mL). Line differences were thus detected (P = 0.02) for total sperm production per ejaculate, greatest for OR (54.9 × 109), intermediate for UC (48.7 × 109), and least for CO (40.5 × 109). A larger percentage of progressively motile sperm and greater estimates of sperm velocity only at processing point E (P < 0.01) were detected in favor of CO. Estimates of motility, velocity, and other parameters of sperm movement measured on E processing points were positively correlated with the same estimates obtained PT, but the magnitude was low to moderate (r range −0.03 to 0.23). Thus, selection for component traits of female reproduction had a favorable effect on total sperm production of boars.