Survey of the Gochu Asturcelta autochthonous breed germplasm bank, new publication

We have just published an article in the journal Animals, on a Special Issue on pig reproduction, on the cryopreserved semen of the Gochu Asturcelta autochthonous breed. This study has been coordinated by Dr. Néstor Caamaño and resulted from a collaboration of SERIDA and the Universities of Murcia, Oviedo, and León. This study contributes with new and promising information on the reproductive biology of this species and contributes to the conservation of this valuable local species.

A Gochu Asturcelta sow, showing features of this valuable local breed.

A Gochu Asturcelta sow, showing features of this valuable local breed (Wikipedia).

As significant advances, we can confirm that the sperm doses stored in the genetic resource bank of the Principado de Asturias could be used in the future, if needed, for the expansion of this breed. The assessed parameters comprise motility, many physiological variables analyzed by flow cytometry, and chromatin status. This last parameter was assessed at the University of León by Dr. Amer Salman, and it is a critical one regarding boar fertility and offspring wellness.

Interestingly, the seminal quality seems to follow a seasonal pattern, with better quality for samples collected earlier in the year (spring-summer). This could be related to the specific climate of the areas in the Principado de Asturias where these animals are bred and could be very relevant for their breeding and conservation.

This experiment was partly funded by two of our projects (RTI2018-095183-B-I00, MCI/AEI/FEDER, EU, and LE023P20, Junta de Castilla y León/Consejería de Educación/FEDER, EU) for studying the boar sperm chromatin. This line of work contributes to the circular economy and the improvement of the agri-food sector by enhancing the application of artificial insemination and reducing antibiotic use.

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Special Issue “Melatonin Receptors and Animal Reproduction” in IJMS

ijms-logoDr. Cristina Soriano-Úbeda and Dr. Felipe Martínez-Pastor have co-edited another Special Issue in the IJMS on the role of melatonin in reproduction, especially its receptors. We aim at collecting a valuable set of reviews and articles on the topic.

Melatonin is a fundamental molecule regarding the regulation of reproduction, and it is has many potential roles in this topic. The interest in this molecule and its mode of action has enticed a thriving field affecting animal reproduction (including human medicine). Our own research group was recently involved in a project on this topic, with very exciting results.

We hope that part of this new research is soon reflecting in this Special Issue.

Cristina-650x650Melatonin-3d-CPKFelipe Martínez-Pastor

Postdoc opportunity at University of León, Reprobio, María Zambrano grants

TCaptura de pantalla 2021-05-19 a las 12.35.14he Spanish Ministry of Universities has launched a new line of grants for postdocs for carrying 1-3 years stays at Spanish Universities (press note; official publication This is an excellent opportunity for continuing your research career in our group, if you have a postdoc experience of at least 24 months.

We are now at the preliminary phase for expressions of interest (deadline, May 26th).  Contact us for more information.


Tesis doctoral sobre antioxidantes en semen

EzH3ik5WgAM6ddnLa semana pasada, el Dr. Felipe Martínez asistió como Presidente de Tribunal a la tesis doctoral de D.ª Francisca Sánchez, del grupo SaBio del IREC/UCLM. La tesis se tituló “Estrategia antioxidante para la protección espermática frente al estrés oxidativo”, y la defendió brillantemente el día 16 de abril.

Ha sido una satisfacción asistir a esta tesis, con dos de los tres trabajos presentados ya publicados en revistas de prestigio. Agradezco a los Drs. Rocío Fernández y J. Julián Garde, grandes personas y grandes investigadores, por habernos considerado para colaborar en esta tarea. Y una satisfacción compartir la mesa con los Drs. Olga García (UCLM) y Manuel Álvarez (UAB/LiU).

¡Esperemos que pronto podamos celebrarlo adecuadamente!

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Alternatives to antibiotics on artificial reproduction: New publication

We just had accepted a publication about our research on sperm selection and sperm chromatin. Dr. Morrell from SLU in Uppsala collaborates with us in this research line supported by two granted projects. In this article, “Low density Porcicoll separates spermatozoa from bacteria and retains sperm quality” (OA), we have scaled the Porcicoll SLC-based sperm selection technique to the pre-application stage. Dr. Morrell is the inventor of the colloid and one of the leading developers of SLC. She demonstrated the ability of the method for removing bacteria from ejaculates when using a low-density colloid.

We are very interested in improving the chromatin integrity of the pig sperm for industrial use, and bacterial contamination is a challenge. With this collaboration, we are enabling the use of large-volume SLC for removing bacteria from semen. Therefore, no antibiotics might be added for cooled storage. We demonstrate that after collection in conditions allowing for bacterial contamination, low-density SLC was able to remove most bacteria and keep counts low and improve sperm quality. Notably, sperm chromatin benefited by decreasing DNA fragmentation, a key event related to reduced fertility.

This research allows us to advance towards a better application of reproductive techniques while achieving H2020 objectives regarding the fight against antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Reducing antibiotic use is a positive step for the pig industry and society as a whole. Besides, we successfully carried out the experiment while processing large volumes of ejaculate, which is an incremental step towards applying these methods in the pig industry.

Below: Plots showing bacterial relationships in the sperm samples, and correlations among bacterial species and sperm quality parameters.

heatmap correl

More information:

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