Origin, Migration, and Reproduction of Indigenous Domestic Animals with Special Reference to Their Sperm Quality
Van der Horst, Gerhard
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: Indigenous domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens have a natural resistance to endo- and ecto-parasites and are tolerant in terms of harsh environmental conditions. These species orginated from the Fertile Cresent between 12,000 and 10,000 BP before migrating into surrounding continents. In view of limited information on the reproductive status of indigenous breeds, it is important to examine their semen characteristics in order to select males to improve livestock production. We have largely relied on existing literature but also our published and ongoing research on sperm quality assessment of several indigenous breeds. The sperm quality of these breeds is similar to current commercial breeds and has been quantified using cutting-edge methods. In this context, we have presented sperm functional tests which provide a better estimate of semen quality than just a standard semen analysis. Initial results suggest that the indigenous breeds have a high sperm quality and sperm functionality similar to currently farmed exotic or crossbreeds. In the long-term, the importance of preserving the favorable traits of these breeds is a priority in view of crossbreeding with existing good meat and milk producers.