Artificial insemination (using fresh or frozen semen) is an important method of improving the genetics of production animals.
Artificial insemination makes it possible to disseminate valuable genetic material over large geographical areas and to reduce the risk of the spread of infectious diseases. However, complicated insemination techniques used for sheep and goats and high costs have limited the overall use of artificial insemination.
If the sheep and goat industry is to increase its use of artificial insemination for breeding purposes, it is necessary to evaluate the procedures used for sperm treatment and insemination as well as the logistics and financing involved in the introduction of artificial insemination on a large scale. Anne Nordstoga's doctoral research has therefore focused mainly on the conservation of frozen semen from rams and goats and on the development of insemination techniques that do not require authorised personnel.
Her study has resulted in practical improvements in the form of simplified procedures for the production of ram and goat semen as well as simpler insemination techniques that can be used on sheep and goats. Now that these simpler techniques have been developed, the owners can inseminate their own animals after having taken only a one-day course of instruction. This has resulted in a significant increase in the use of artificial insemination in these animals.
In addition, Nordstoga has discovered that certain features of the sperm's DNA can be used to predict the fertility of rams. In this way, rams with a low fertility level can be excluded from the breeding programme at an early stage. However, these findings will require further study.
DVM Anne Nordstoga defended her doctoral research at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science on 20th June 2012 with a thesis entitled: Field fertility after artificial insemination in sheep and goats in Norway: A study of the effects of deposition site, semen processing procedures, sperm DNA integrity and insemination dose on 25-day non-return rate.
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Magnhild Jenssen, Information Officer at NVH
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