Scientists from the University of Newcastle have developed a new method they feel could be a boon to horse breeding around the world. The vast majority of breeds use artificial insemination to impregnate mares not located near select stallions.
Horse sperm has a short lifespan, and to preserve it for more than a few days (and for shipping), the semen has to be chilled or cryopreserved. This process, though allowing the sperm to be viable longer, can be damaging to the cells.
With a new liquid researchers have developed, sperm could stay viable for up to two weeks instead of the shorter three days it is viable when chilled. This could translate into higher-quality sperm being sent overseas to breeding programs in other countries—and that those inseminations would have a greater chance of success.
Aleona Swegen, a scientist involved with the project, noted that equines have fallen behind the times with regards to artificial insemination compared with many other animal species. It is hoped that this new technique will help equine artificial insemination to catch up.
Once the semen is collected from the stallion, the semen extender is added, which has components that support cell metabolism. When cells metabolize, they produce oxygen and waste, so the extender also has the ability to clean up those byproducts, allowing the sperm to be stored at an ambient temperature for an extended period of time.
Read more at ABC.
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