Relationship between ovulation rate and embryonic characteristics in gilts at 35 d of pregnancy

Carolina Lima Alvares da Silva, M.L.W.J. Broekhuijse, B.F.A. Laurenssen, H.A. Mulder, Edward F. Knol, B. Kemp, N.M. Soede*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between ovulation rate (OR) and embryonic characteristics in gilts. Landrace (n = 86) and Yorkshire x Landrace (n = 212) gilts were inseminated with semen stored for 3 to 5 d (SS1, n = 59), 6 to7 d (SS2, n = 133), or 8 to 10 d (SS3, n = 106), and slaughtered at 35 d of pregnancy. Ovulation rate was assessed by dissection of the corpora lutea on both ovaries. Embryos were classified as vital (VE) by visual appearance and individually weighed (VEg) and the SD of the weight calculated (SDVEg). Early embryonic mortality (EM) was estimated as the difference between OR and the number of vital plus nonvital embryos. Embryonic characteristics were analyzed with a model that included linear and quadratic terms of OR and fixed class effects of semen storage duration (SS) and genetic line (GL). Landrace gilts had a higher OR than Yorkshire x Landrace gilts (22.1 ± 0.4 vs. 20.3 ± 0.2, P ≤ 0.05) and also a higher EM (6.1 ± 0.4 vs. 3.5 ± 0.3, P ≤ 0.05). EM was also higher in gilts inseminated with semen stored for more than 8 d. Also, Yorkshire x Landrace gilts had a higher number of VE (16.9 ± 0.7) than the Landrace gilts (13.3 ± 0.8) when inseminations were done with semen stored for up to 5 d. Yorkshire x Landrace gilts had the highest VEg when inseminated with semen stored for 3 to 5 d (SS1: 4.9 ± 0.2 g, SS2: 4.1 ± 0.1 g, and SS3: 4.0 ± 0.2 g; P ≤ 0.05). VE and VEg did not differ within Landrace gilts between different SS classes. A quadratic relationship of OR (P ≤ 0.05) was found with VE: a maximum of 16.8 VE was observed at 26 ovulations [(2.5 (± 0.6)*OR- 0.05 (± 0.01)*OR2]. A quadratic relationship of OR (P ≤ 0.05) was also found for EM: a minimum of 3.33 EM was observed at 15 ovulations [(−1.1 (± 0.6)*OR −0.03 (± 0.01)*OR2]. VEg was not related with OR, but SDVEg had a positive linear relationship with OR [0.01 (± 0.003)*OR, P ≤ 0.05]. Results show that Yorkshire x Landrace gilts perform better than Landrace when inseminated with fresh semen, but not with semen stored for longer time. Also, the VE increases with an increase in OR up to 26, but at a lower level at higher OR, which is likely related with the increase in EM. The higher EM at higher OR might arise from a higher variation in follicular/oocyte quality leading to a higher variation in embryonic quality and development, increasing mortality before uterine implantation and the variation in embryonic weight already at 35 d of pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3160-3172
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume95
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Embryonic mortality
  • Embryonic weight
  • Gilts
  • Ovulation rate

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