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Theriogenology. 1999 Oct 15;52(6):1035-41.

Effect of timing of artificial insemination on gender ratio in beef cattle.

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  • 1Animal Science Department, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701, USA.


It was recently reported that cows inseminated at approximately 10 or 20 h before an expected ovulation deliver predominately a bull or heifer calf, respectively. The objective of this study was to further investigate the effect of timing of insemination on the gender of offspring in cattle. Angus heifers (n = 41) and cows (n = 98) were used in the study. Heifers were synchronized with a 16-d treatment of melengestrol acetate followed 17 d later with an injection of PGF2alpha. Cows were synchronized with GnRH followed 7 d later with PGF2alpha. A HeatWatch electronic estrus detection system was used to determine the onset of estrus. Based on previous studies, it was assumed that ovulation occurs approximately 32 h after the onset of estrus. Therefore, animals were artificially inseminated at either 8 to 10 h (early; > or = 20 h before expected ovulation) or 20 to 25 h (late; < or = 10 h before expected ovulation) after the onset of estrus. Sixty to 80 d after insemination, ultrasonography was used to confirm pregnancy status and to determine the gender of fetuses. Gender of calves was subsequently confirmed at calving. Data were analyzed for effects of time of insemination and sire or semen batch on gender ratio, as well as any effect of length and/or intensity of estrus on conception rate and gender ratio. Twenty-nine of 41 heifers and 69 of 98 cows were detected in estrus after synchronization and were inseminated; 20 of 29 heifers and 48 of 69 cows were subsequently confirmed pregnant. Neither the length of estrus nor its intensity (number of mounts) had an effect on pregnancy rate or gender ratio (P > or = 0.418). Timing of insemination (early versus late) had no effect on gender ratio (P = 0.887). Semen from 13 sires representing 17 lots was used to inseminate the cows and heifers. No differences (P = 0.494) were detected in the gender ratios resulting from different sires or semen batches. In contrast to previous findings, our results indicate that inseminating beef cattle at approximately 20 or 10 h before an expected ovulation does not alter the gender ratio of the resultant calves.

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