New Approaches to Boar Semen Evaluation, Processing and Improvement

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ContentsThe improvement of boar reproductive performance may be the next frontier in reproductive management of swine herd in Unites States, facilitated by better understanding of boar sperm function and by the introduction of new advanced instrumentation in the andrology field. Objective single ejaculate evaluation and individual boar fertility prediction may be possible by introducing automated flow cytometric semen analysis with vital stains (e.g. acrosomal integrity and mito-potential), DNA fragmentation analysis and biomarkers (ubiquitin, PAWP, ALOX15, aggresome) associated with normal or defective sperm phenotypes. Measurement of sperm-produced reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a helpful indicator of normal semen sample. Semen ROS levels could be managed by the addition of ROS-scavenging antioxidants. Alternative energy regeneration substrates and sperm stimulants such as inorganic pyrophosphate and caffeine could increase sperm lifespan in extended semen and within the female reproductive system. Such technology could be combined with timed sperm release in the female reproductive system after artificial insemination. Sperm phenotype analysis by the image-based flow cytometry will go hand in hand with the advancement of swine genomics, linking aberrant sperm phenotype to the fertility influencing gene polymorphisms. Finally, poor-quality ejaculates could be rescued and acceptable ejaculates improved by semen purification methods such as the nanoparticle-based semen purification and magnetic-activated sperm sorting. Altogether, these scientific and technological advances could benefit swine industry, provided that the challenges of new technology adoption, dissemination and cost reduction are met.

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