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Theriogenology. 1998 Mar;49(4):871-9.

Quantification of bull sperm characteristics measured by computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) and the relationship to fertility.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate semen quality of bulls housed under controlled conditions at a large AI facility and relate results to fertility. In Experiment 1 semen was collected from six 6-yr-old bulls twice daily at 3- to 4-d intervals for 3 d. In Experiment 2 eleven 6- to 11-yr-old bulls were used. Extensive breeding information was available and semen was collected as in Experiment 1 but replicated 4 times. Standard semen analysis and computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) with the Hamilton Thorne IVOS, model 10 unit, were performed on 36 first and second ejaculates in Experiment 1 and on 44 first ejaculates in Experiment 2. Sixteen fields (2 chambers with 8 fields per chamber) were examined per sample. In Experiment 1 the correlation between estimated sperm concentration by spectrophotometry and CASA was 0.91 (P < 0.01). Among bulls the range in the percentage of motile spermatozoa was 52 to 82 for CASA versus 62 to 69 for subjective measurements made by highly experienced technicians. Thus, CASA, with high repeatability, provided a more discriminating estimate of the percentage of motile sperm cells than did the subjective procedure. Bull effect was much greater than any other variable in the experiments. Chamber differences were small and so the results for the 2 chambers with 8 fields each were combined. One to five CASA values were correlated with bull fertility, defined as 59-day nonreturn rates corrected for cow and herd effects. The percentage of motile spermatozoa accounted for a small fraction of the total variation in fertility (r2 = 0.34). However higher r2 values (0.68 to 0.98) were obtained for 2 to 5 variables used in the multiple regression equations. The results are promising, and further testing will determine more precisely which of these CASA variables are most useful in estimating bull fertility potential.

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