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Last update: May 2021

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A study has been published to demonstrate the effectiveness of long-term sperm storage for the restitution of lost families.

Publication Poultry Science Thélie & all
Over the past 50 years, practices for the ex situ preservation of endangered breeds have been developed.


Semen and primordial germ cells, gonadal tissues were frozen to create genetic stocks of chicken in cryobanks. This method of sperm cryopreservation is chosen because it is non-invasive. Numerous protocols have been developed to cryopreserve chicken sperm, but their success rate varies widely. The objective of the present study was to standardize and prove the effectiveness of long-term sperm storage for the restitution of lost families. The study shows that semen straws stored for 18 years in liquid nitrogen have not lost their fertilization capacity and that storage in a national cryobank facilitates the recovery of an animal's lineage. The interest of standardizing a cryopreservation method with different cryoprotectants was highlighted.
The protocols were also tested on another breed. The freezing/thawing and insemination conditions were controlled. The best results were obtained using glycerol with a semen dilution of 1:4 (semen:extender). The insemination dose of 200 million sperm/females was as effective as 400 million sperm/females. These results demonstrated the effectiveness of long-term storage of chicken semen for the restoration of lost genetic resources and highlighted the importance of standardizing the cryopreservation of chicken semen using procedures combining biophysical (cryoprotectors, freezing/thawing conditions) and zootechnical (artificial insemination) functionalities.

Keywords: cryopreservation, chicken, fertility, genetic resources

Aurore Thelie, Amelie Bailliard, Francois Seigneurin, Tatiana Zerjal, Michele Tixier-Boichard, Elisabeth Blesbois. 2029. Chicken semen cryopreservation and use for the restoration of rare genetic resources. Poultry Science 98:447–455. DOI:10.3382/ps/pey360