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J Androl. 2009 Nov-Dec;30(6):655-60. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.108.006254. Epub 2009 May 28.

Boar fertility and sperm chromatin structure status: a retrospective report.

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  • 1Minitube of America, Verona, Wisconsin 53593, USA.


Little information exists about boar sperm chromatin quality and fertility within a commercial setting. The objective of this report is to provide information about boar sperm chromatin integrity and its relationship to fertility. The sperm chromatin structure assay (SCSA) was used retrospectively to characterize sperm from 18 sexually mature boars having fertility information. Boar fertility was defined by farrow rate (FR) and average total number of pigs born (ANB) per litter of gilts and sows mated to individual boars. Fertility data was compiled for 1867 matings across the 18 boars. The SCSA uses flow cytometry to evaluate the structural integrity of sperm nuclear DNA. The SCSA parameters measured in this retrospective analysis were the percentage DNA fragmentation index (%DFI) and standard deviation of the DNA fragmentation index (SD DFI). The %DFI and SD DFI showed the following significant negative correlations with FR and ANB; %DFI vs FR, r = -0.55, P < .01; SD DFI vs FR, r = -0.67, P < .002; %DFI vs ANB, r = -0.54, P < .01; and SD DFI vs ANB, r = -0.54, P < .02. Although more information is required to better understand the relationship between DFI and boar fertility, this report suggests that the SCSA assay may be an important assay for identification of boars having potential for lowered fertility.

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