Artificial In-Semination - State Of The Art
AI can help to improve reproductive efficiency in animals for food production or sport. We are living in a world of scarce resources where there is constant competition for water, food, land and energy. Since protein of animal origin continues to be one of the most important forms of nourishment for human beings, animals are an essential part of the ecosystem and must be husbanded in a sustainable fashion. Animal production not only “competes” with human beings for the aforementioned resources, but also produces large amounts of effluent and gaseous emissions which can affect the environment. Therefore, it is vital for the survival of the planet that all aspects of animal production are justified and optimized. Through grazing or browsing and the recycling of nutrients, animals also contribute to maintaining the landscape in a productive state.
The production of food of animal origin is based on breeding offspring to enter various husbandry systems. Therefore, one of the first points for optimization is in increasing reproductive efficiency, using an holistic approach. Females should be bred for the first time at an appropriate age to ensure the birth of healthy offspring and optimum lactation, without compromising the health of the female. Subsequent breeding attempts should also be timed appropriately to balance the metabolic requirements of lactation and early pregnancy. Females not conceiving or showing early embryonic loss should be identified at an early stage for re-breeding or culling. However, optimizing female reproduction demands a supply of spermatozoa. The spermatozoa must be readily available (i.e. can be stored), robust, and capable of fertilization, initiation of early embryonic development and regulation of placental formation, and there must be a means of delivery to an appropriate site in the female.