Sexing mammalian sperm for production of offspring: the state-of-the-art. Conference Paper uri icon


  • Predetermination of sex in livestock offspring is in great demand and is of critical importance to providing for the most efficient production of the world's food supply. With the changes that have taken place in animal agriculture over the past generation the application of sex preselection to production systems becomes increasingly necessary. The current technology is based on the well-known difference in X- and Y-sperm in the amount of DNA present. The method has been validated on the basis of live births, laboratory reanalysis of sorted sperm for DNA content and embryo biopsy for sex determination. The technology incorporates modified flow cytometric sorting instrumentation to sort X- and Y-bearing sperm. Resulting populations of X or Y sperm can be used in conjunction with IVF in swine and in cattle for the production of sexed embryos to be transferred to eligible recipients for the duration of gestation. It can also be used for intratubal insemination and for deep-uterine and conventional insemination in cattle. This semipractical sexing method, though currently impractical for some production systems (where large numbers of sperm are required for fertilization) could be used to provide a more flexible progeny-producing option in many livestock operations. Improvements in the production rate of sexed sperm continue as new technology is developed. High-speed sorting is one of the newer technological advances and is being used in our laboratory to increase sorted sperm throughput. With our original technology we sorted 350,000 sperm/h. We now sort 6 million of each sex, under routine conditions. Sorting only the X population results in about 18 million sperm/h. Improvements in the technology will no doubt lead to much greater usage of sexed sperm, depending on the species involved. Insemination of lower sperm numbers in cattle has proven to be an effective means of utilizing the sexing technology. Solving the problems associated with inseminating low sperm numbers in the pig would be advantageous to the utilization of sexed sperm for some type of deep artificial insemination. Such a development would also enhance the economy of using lower sperm numbers with conventional artificial insemination (AI) and aid the swine industry worldwide. The use of sexed sperm for non-ordinary applications such as endangered species, laboratory animals, hobby or pet species is also of interest and will become a part of the move to be more reproductively efficient in the next millennium. Sexed sperm on demand over the next several years will provide livestock producers with many options in seeking to improve efficiency of production and improve quality of products to enhance consumer acceptability.

published proceedings

  • Anim Reprod Sci

altmetric score

  • 9

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnson, L. A.

citation count

  • 160

complete list of authors

  • Johnson, LA

publication date

  • July 2000