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Genetic parameters of semen quality traits and genetic correlations with service sire nonreturn rate in Nordic Holstein bulls

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Despite the importance of the quality of semen used in artificial insemination to the reproductive success of dairy herds, few studies have estimated the extent of genetic variability in semen quality traits. Even fewer studies have quantified the correlation between semen quality traits and male fertility. In this study, records of 100,058 ejaculates collected from 2,885 Nordic Holstein bulls were used to estimate genetic parameters for semen quality traits, including pre- and postcryopreservation semen concentration, sperm motility and viability, ejaculate volume, and number of doses per ejaculate. Additionally, summary data on nonreturn rate (NRR) obtained from insemination of some of the bulls (n = 2,142) to cows in different parities (heifers and parities 1-3 or more) were used to estimate correlations between the semen quality traits and service sire NRR. In the study, low to moderate heritability (0.06-0.45) was estimated for semen quality traits, indicating the possibility of improving these traits through selective breeding. The study also showed moderate to high genetic and phenotypic correlations between service sire NRR and some of the semen quality traits, including sperm viability pre- and postcryopreservation, motility postcryopreservation, and sperm concentration precryopreservation, indicating the predictive values of these traits for service sire NRR. The positive moderate to high genetic correlations between semen quality and service sire NRR traits also indicated that selection for semen quality traits might be favorable for improving service sire NRR.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)10010-10019
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021, The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. and Fass Inc. on behalf of the American Dairy Science Association®. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

    Research areas

  • genetic correlation, heritability, male fertility, semen quality

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