Biological Markers of Boar Fertility

  • Author / Creator
    Diether, Natalie E
  • Abstract The ability to identify and remove sub-fertile boars from the breeding herd is critical to improving reproductive efficiency of pork production systems. Use of semen from sires exhibiting sub-fertility can result in decreased sow pregnancy and farrowing rates, as well as smaller litter sizes [1, 2]. Currently, the ability to detect sub-fertile sires has been somewhat limited due to the low correlation between increasing semen quality and increasing relative fertility beyond minimum acceptability standards, as well as the limitations of functional assays [3, 4]. Previous research has identified differences in the relative abundance of seminal plasma proteins between high and low fertility boars using 2-D gel electrophoresis and western blotting [5]. Genomic markers are also promising, due to their usefulness in examining low heritability, complex traits [6]. No existing studies of the associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and fertility have been completed for boars, although associations have been reported in bulls and stallions [7, 8]. The purpose of this study was therefore to utilize field fertility evaluations of boars in commercial pork production systems to generate a population of boars with known fertility phenotypes. During the evaluation period, blood and semen samples were collected for proteomic and genomic analysis. Proteomic evaluation was completed on boars representing fertility extremes, using a combination of label-free quantitation, isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification for discovery, and targeted multiple reaction monitoring. A genome-wide association study was completed using Sleuth software, on all boars evaluated. Through this work, proteins and SNPs significantly associated with fertility performance of boars were identified. These markers provide a basis for further validation to identify markers for testing boars during early life. With validation, these markers will provide a tool to boar stud managers and pork producers to identify potentially sub-fertile sires and improve reproductive efficiency. Literature Cited 1. Van der Lende T, Willemsen MHA, van arendonk JAM, van Haandel EBPG: Genetic analysis of the service sire effect on litter size in swine. Livest Prod Sci 1999, 58:91-94. 2. Ruiz-Sanchez AL, O'Donoghue R, Novak S, Dyck MK, Cosgrove JR, Dixon WT, Foxcroft GR: The predictive value of routine semen evaluation and IVF technology for determining relative boar fertility. Theriogenology 2006, 66(4):736-748. 3. Dyck MK, Foxcroft GR, Novak S, Ruiz-Sanchez A, Patterson J, Dixon WT: Biological markers of boar fertility. Reprod Domest Anim 2011, 46 Suppl 2:55-58. 4. Popwell JM, Flowers WL: Variability in relationships between semen quality and estimates of in vivo and in vitro fertility in boars. Anim Reprod Sci 2004, 81(1-2):97-113. 5. Novak S, Ruiz-Sanchez A, Dixon WT, Foxcroft GR, Dyck MK: Seminal plasma proteins as potential markers of relative fertility in boars. J Androl 2010, 31(2):188-200. 6. Rothschild MF, Ruvinsky A, C.A.B. International.: The genetics of the pig, 2nd edn. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI; 2011. 7. Penagaricano F, Khatib H: Association of milk protein genes with fertilization rate and early embryonic development in Holstein dairy cattle. J Dairy Res 2012, 79(1):47-52. 8. Sieme H, Distl O: Genomics and Fertility in Stallions. J Equine Vet Sci 2012, 32(8):467-470.

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  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
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