Artificial insemination outcomes in beef females using bovine sperm with a detectable fertility-associated antigen.
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In this study, semen samples from 25 bulls that had passed a breeding soundness evaluation were analyzed for the presence or absence of a 31-kDa protein, known as fertility-associated antigen (FAA), on spermatozoal membranes. Eighteen bulls had FAA on sperm (FAA-positive) and seven were devoid of FAA on sperm (FAA-negative). A single ejaculate from each bull was extended and frozen with 25 to 30 x 10(6) sperm in .5-mL straws. Crossbred replacement heifers (n = 865) were estrus-synchronized and artificially inseminated either at timed AI or 12 h after they were detected in estrus. Mature cows (n = 285) were inseminated 12 h after they were detected in estrus during a 45-d AI period. Pregnancy rates (pooled) to first AI service for females (n = 764) inseminated with FAA-positive sperm were 65.6% and were 49.7% for females (n = 386) inseminated with FAA-negative sperm (P < .005). Among the estrus-synchronized replacement heifers, pregnancy rates to synchronized AI service for heifers (n = 550) inseminated with FAA-positive sperm were 62% and were 45.7% for heifers (n = 315) inseminated with FAA-negative sperm (P < .005). These data indicate that pregnancy rates to first AI service at spontaneous and synchronized estrus are higher when using semen from bulls with detectable FAA on spermatozoal membranes compared to semen from bulls devoid of FAA on membranes. Fertility-associated antigen is an important determinant for fertility potential of sperm from bulls to be used in AI breeding programs.