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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Survival and fertility of ram spermatozoa frozen in pellets, straws and minitubes.

The post-thaw survival and fertility of ram spermatozoa frozen in pellets, 0.25- and 0.5-ml PVC straws, and 0.25-ml minitubes were examined. In 5 experiments, a freezing height of 6 cm above the level of liquid nitrogen was optimal for 0.25- and 0.5-ml straws, whereas 4 cm was best for the 0.25-ml minitubes. Post-thaw motility of spermatozoa was lower for semen frozen in straws and minitubes than in pellets (Experiment 1: 43.7 vs 53.4%, P < 0.001), but after freezing was better in 0.5-ml straws and 0.25-ml minitubes than in 0.25-ml straws (Experiment 1: 44.9 vs 41.3%, P<0.05; Experiment 2: 49.6 vs 46.8%, P < 0.01). Sperm motility was also better for 1:8 (semen:diluent) pre-freezing dilution rate (50.5%) than for 1:4 (45.6%, P < 0.01) and 1:2 (39.8%, P < 0.001) but not the 1:16 (49.5%) dilution rate. Dry ice was a better freezing medium than liquid nitrogen vapor (49.2 vs 46.9% motile spermatozoa, P < 0.001). The post-thaw motility of spermatozoa was similar for the three freezing packages if the semen was loaded at 5 degrees C, but motility was poorer for semen loaded into 0.25-ml straws than 0.25-ml minitubes at 30 degrees C (P < 0.05). In a fertility test, pregnancy rates were influenced by rams (3 rams, P < 0.05) and freezing package (pellets vs 0.25-ml minitube vs 0.25-ml straw vs 0.5-ml straw, P < 0.05) but not freezing medium (liquid nitrogen vapor vs dry ice). More ewes were pregnant after insemination with pellet-frozen semen (106 150 , 71%) than with semen frozen in 0.25-ml straws (85 150 , 57%; P < 0.05) and in 0.5-ml straws (83 150 , 55%; P < 0.01) but not minitubes (98 150 , 65%). It was concluded that minitubes provide a useful alternative to pellets as a storage package for ram spermatozoa, allowing for individual dose identification and easier storage while maintaining a fertility rate indistinguishable from that obtained with pellet-frozen semen.[1]


  1. Survival and fertility of ram spermatozoa frozen in pellets, straws and minitubes. Maxwell, W.M., Landers, A.J., Evans, G. Theriogenology (1995) [Pubmed]
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