Sire contribution to fertilization failure and early embryo survival in cattle
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CitationE. O'Callaghan, J.M. Sánchez, M. McDonald, A.K. Kelly, M. Hamdi, C. Maicas, S. Fair, D.A. Kenny, P. Lonergan, Sire contribution to fertilization failure and early embryo survival in cattle, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 104, Issue 6, 2021, Pages 7262-7271, ISSN 0022-0302, https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2020-19900.
AbstractDespite passing routine laboratory tests of semen quality, bulls used in artificial insemination (AI) exhibit a significant range in field fertility. The objective of this study was to determine whether subfertility in AI bulls is due to issues of sperm transport to the site of fertilization, fertilization failure, or failure of early embryo or conceptus development. In experiment 1, Holstein-Friesian bulls (3 high fertility, HF, and 3 low fertility, LF) were selected from the national population of AI bulls based on adjusted fertility scores from a minimum of 500 inseminations (HF: +4.37% and LF: −12.7%; mean = 0%). Superovulated beef heifers were blocked based on estimated number of follicles at the time of AI and inseminated with semen from HF or LF bulls (n = 3–4 heifers per bull; total 19 heifers). Following slaughter 7 d later, the number of corpora lutea was counted and the uteri were flushed. Recovered structures (oocytes/embryos) were classified according to developmental stage and stained with 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole to assess number of cells and accessory sperm. Overall recovery rate (total structures recovered/total corpora lutea) was 52.6% and was not different between groups. Mean (± standard error of the mean) number of embryos recovered per recipient was 8.7 ± 5.2 and 9.4 ± 5.5 for HF and LF, respectively. Overall fertilization rate of recovered structures was not different between groups. However, more embryos were at advanced stages of development (all blastocyst stages combined), reflected in a greater mean embryo cell number on d 7 for HF versus LF bulls. Number of accessory sperm was greater for embryos derived from HF than for LF bulls. The aim of experiment 2 was to evaluate the effect of sire fertility on survival of bovine embryos to d 15. Day 7 blastocysts were produced in vitro using semen from the same HF (n = 3) and LF (n = 3) bulls and transferred in groups of 5–10 to synchronized heifers (n = 7 heifers per bull; total 42 heifers). Conceptus recovery rate on d 15 was higher in HF (59.4%,) versus LF (45.0%). Mean length of recovered conceptuses for HF bulls was not affected by fertility status. In conclusion, while differences in field fertility among AI sires used in this study were not reflected in fertilization rate, differences in embryo quality were apparent as early as d 7. These differences likely contributed to the higher proportion of conceptuses surviving to d 15 in HF bulls.
FunderScience Foundation Ireland
Grant NumberProject 16/IA/4474
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