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Using Gender-selected Semen
Could Benefit Cattle Producers

by Lynsey Meharg, intern, Angus Journal


OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (June 12, 2013) — The technology behind gender-selected semen has improved dramatically during the last 10 years. Producers could profit from those advances, said Dustin Dean, director of beef programs at Sexing Technologies.


Dustin Dean
“If producers can see a premium of $150 per animal for one gender over another, gender-selected semen could be profitable for them,” said Dustin Dean of Sexing Technologies.

Dean was charged with opening the 2013 National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) Symposium June 12 by explaining the process behind gender-selected semen and why producers would benefit from use of this product. The NAAB Symposium was hosted in conjunction with the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Research Symposium and Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City June 12-15.


“If this technology works with dairy cattle, I promise it will work with beef cattle,” Dean stated.


Dean covered the processes behind sexing semen, including how semen is collected, how the semen is sorted and the sorting machines themselves, as well as why producers should use the product. Citing the dairy industry, Dean pointed out the difference in value of a Holstein female compared to a bull calf.


“If producers can see a premium of $150 per animal for one gender over another, gender-selected semen could be profitable for them,” Dean said.


The sorting process begins by collecting semen from the selected sire. After collection, the semen is then dyed using a fluorescent red stain. Female (X-bearing) sperm cells soak up more dye and shine brighter than the male (Y-bearing) sperm cells.


After the gender is identified, an electromagnetic charge (positive or negative, depending on the gender) is applied to each sperm cell, and the sorting can begin. The sperm cells are sorted into three potential categories: female, male and waste.


Gender-selected semen is marketed in straws at two different dosages: 2.1 million sperm and 5 million sperm. The two different semen concentrations are intended for different purposes, with the 2.1-million-sperm dose used for in vitro fertilization, the 5-million-sperm dose being used for embryo transfer (ET), and either dosage being used for traditional AI purposes.


Though some producers have doubts about using sexed semen for ET, Dean reassured attendees of the NAAB symposium that the 5-million-count straw was specifically created for and marketed for that purpose.


Dean stated semen from 22%-23% of beef bulls can’t be sorted with sorting machines because of motility issues, such as bent heads and broken tails. Some bulls grow out of this issue, while others may never produce semen that can be sorted.


Sexing Technologies guarantees 90% accuracy on gender-selected semen and requires 50% motility at thawing and 30% motility three hours after thawing. All of these requirements are in place to protect producers.


Return to the Newsroom for links to the PowerPoint that accompanied this presentation.


Editor’s Note: This summary was written under contract or by staff of Angus Productions Inc. (API). Through an agreement with the Beef Improvement Federation, we are encouraging reprinting of the articles to those who will adhere to the reprint guidelines available on this site. Please review those guidelines or contact Shauna Rose Hermel, editor, at 816-383-5270. PowerPoints are posted with permission of the presenter and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the presenter.

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Headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo., API publishes the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA, and the Angus Journal Daily, as well as providing online coverage of events and topics pertinent to cattlemen through the Angus Journal Virtual Library.

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