NCBI ROFL: Semen collection in rhinoceroses by electroejaculation with a uniquely designed probe.

By ncbi rofl | September 9, 2011 7:00 pm

Semen collection in rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis, Diceros bicornis, Ceratotherium simum) by electroejaculation with a uniquely designed probe.

“Electroejaculation in rhinoceroses has historically yielded inconsistent results, with the collection of high-quality, sperm-rich samples rare. The goal of this study was to develop a reliable method of electroejaculation in the rhinoceros by designing a rectal probe that appropriately fits the anatomy of this taxon and refining the procedure. A curved probe handle ending in an oblate, ellipsoid head was built using readily available supplies. A combination of rectal massage, penile massage, and electrical stimulation with a specially designed probe was employed in attempts to collect semen on 14 occasions from greater one-horned rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros unicornis; n = 4), black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis; n = 2) and a southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum; n = 1). During 13 of the 14 attempts, ejaculates were collected in multiple fractions. All but one of the ejaculates contained spermatozoa, and seven ejaculates contained good-quality fractions of semen (-60% sperm motility; > or =20 x 106 spermatozoa/ml) suitable for sperm banking and assisted reproduction procedures. Mean (+/-SEM) values for volume, pH, osmolality, and total sperm number for ejaculates containing good-quality fractions (98.2 +/-21.8 ml, 8.5+/-0.1, 290.4+/-6.7 mOsm, and 37.1+/-12.0 x 10(9), respectively) did not differ (P > 0.05) from those containing only poor-quality samples. Urine and/or erythrocyte contamination was not uncommon in fractions of both ejaculate types. Males producing good-quality samples ranged in age from 7 to 34 yr. None of the samples contained > or =75% morphologically normal spermatozoa. Electroejaculation with a uniquely designed probe consistently produced ejaculates in the rhinoceros. However, the production of high-quality samples continued to be challenging, occurring in only 50% of collection attempts. Regardless, the technology has progressed to a stage at which good-quality semen samples can be produced for sperm banking and assisted reproduction, and thereby can be integrated into intensive rhinoceros management strategies for the ultimate survival of this taxon.”

Thanks to Nipam P. via Mike E. for today’s ROFL!
Photo: flickr/Susan E Adams

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NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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