Assisted reproductive technologies such as semen cryopreservation and artificial insemination are limited in camelids by their unique reproductive physiology. In particular the semen is extremely viscous, rendering traditional semen freezing protocols unsuccessful. Furthermore females camelids are induced to ovulate following copulation via a protein, beta-nerve growth factor, that is present in the seminal plasma of the male. This project aims to develop protocols to eliminate the viscosity of alpaca semen in order to cryopreserve sperm; establish the role of beta-nerve growth factor in ovulation; and determine the optimal time and sperm dose for artificial insemination in camelids. The ultimate aim of this research is to develop a standard, efficient protocol for artificial insemination in camelids using frozen-thawed semen.
The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation
The University of Sydney, Australia