Action 8 – Collection of the germplasm

Action 8 is aimed to set up the first Italian sperm cryobank for autochthonous poultry breeds. The cryobank is dedicated to the Gallus gallus and Meleagris gallopavo species. Different activities have been considered in order to plan and implement the sperm cryobank. The activities are listed in brief:

1) Identification of a species-specific reference protocol for the cryopreservation of semen. The effect of the association of permeant and non-permeant cryoprotectants will be studied in order to decrease the sperm damages caused by cryopreservation.

2) Assessment of in vitro quality and in vivo fertility of cryopreserved semen in autochthonous breeds. The aim is to study the sensitivity to semen cryopreservation in the Italian chicken and turkey breeds and, as a consequence, to plan the artificial insemination protocol specific for cryopreserved semen and the minimum number of doses required per male donor and per breed.

3) Drafting of national SOPs for the creation of the Italian sperm cryobank for poultry species. The SOPs include the following descriptions: selection and characterisation (phenotypic and genotypic) of male donors, control of the sanitary status of donors, housing of donors in accordance with standard breeder management, artificial insemination technology in poultry farming, laboratory procedures for the analyses of fresh and cryopreserved semen, reference freezing/thawing procedures, traceability of semen samples, storage sites and safety of semen doses, standard artificial insemination protocols for cryopreserved semen.

4) Prioritization of Italian poultry breeds for ex-situ in vitro conservation.

5) Creation of the sperm cryobank.

Partners UniMI and UniMOL are in charge of Action 8; they will work in close collaboration sharing human and material resources. Partner UniPI will be also involved in the in vivo assessment of fertility.

Finally, all Partners are involved in the prioritization of breeds for ex situ in vitro conservation and they will benefit of results obtained in other project Actions (Action 1 and 2).

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