Artificial Insemination

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Artificial Insemination Empty Artificial Insemination

Post by khandairies on Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:44 pm

Artificial insemination (AI) is a process by which sperm are collected from the male, processed, stored and artificially introduced into the female reproductive tract for the purpose of conception. AI has become one of the most important techniques ever devised for the genetic improvement of farm animals. It has been most widely used for breeding dairy cattle and has made bulls of high genetic merit available to all.

The history of AI is interesting. Old Arabian documents dated around 1322 A.D. indicate that an Arab chieftain wanted to mate his prize mare to an outstanding stallion owned by an enemy. He introduced a wand of cotton into the mare's reproductive tract, then used it to sexually excite the stallion causing him to ejaculate. The semen was introduced into the mare resulting in conception.

Anthony van Leeuwenhook, inventor of the microscope, first observed human spermatozoa under magnification. This finding led to further research. Spallanzani is usually considered the inventor of AI. His scientific reports of 1780 indicate successful use of AI in dogs.

In 1899, Ivanoff of Russia pioneered AI research in birds, horses, cattle and sheep. He was apparently the first to successfully inseminate cattle artificially. Mass breeding of cows via AI was first accomplished in Russia, where 19,800 cows were bred in 1931. Denmark was first to establish an AI cooperative association in 1936. E.J. Perry of New Jersey visited the AI facilities in Denmark and established the first United States AI cooperative in 1938 at the New Jersey State College of Agriculture.

The AI industry has grown tremendously in the United States since its beginning. In 1970, USDA reported that 7,344,420 dairy females were bred artificially, 46% of the female dairy cattle population.

The greatest advantage of AI is that it makes possible maximum use of superior sires. Natural service would probably limit the use of one bull to less than 100 matings per year. In 1968, AI usage enabled one dairy sire to provide semen for more than 60,000 services. Exposure of sires to infectious genital diseases is prevented by use of AI which reduces the danger of spreading such diseases. Time required to establish a reliable proof on young bulls is reduced through AI use. Other advantages include early detection of infertile bulls, use of old or crippled bulls and elimination of danger from handling unruly bulls.

There are a few disadvantages of AI which can be overcome through proper management. A human detection of heat is required. Success or failure of AI depends on how well this task is performed. AI requires more labor, facilities and managerial skill than natural service. Proper implementation of AI requires special training, skill and practice. Utilization of few sires, as occurs with AI, can reduce the genetic base. The AI industry and dairy cattle breeders should make every effort to sample as many young sires as possible.

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