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World’s oldest semen frozen for 50 years still functional, used to impregnate sheep

The Original Semen Was Donated Around 1960s From Sires Owned By The Walker Family And Was Frozen In 1968 By Dr Steven Salamon.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Chanshimla Varah | Updated on: 18 Mar 2019, 11:34:23 AM
World’s oldest semen frozen for 50 years still functional (Photo: Facebook)

New Delhi:

World’s oldest semen which scientists believe to be at least 50 years old is still viable for impregnation. The semen according to the University of Sydney was stored since 1968 in a laboratory in Sydney and now has been defrosted and successfully used to impregnate 34 Merino ewes, with the resulting live birth rate as high sperm frozen for just 12 months.

"We believe this is the oldest viable stored semen of any species in the world and definitely the oldest sperm used to produce offspring," Jessica Rickard, a post-doctoral student in the Sydney Institute of Agriculture, said in a statement.

"This demonstrates the clear viability of long-term frozen storage of semen. The results show that fertility is maintained despite 50 years of frozen storage in liquid nitrogen," said Associate Professor Simon de Graaf from the Sydney Institute of Agriculture and School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.

"We believe this is the oldest viable stored semen of any species in the world and definitely the oldest sperm used to produce offspring," said Jessica Rickard, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Sydney.

"What is amazing about this result is we found no difference between sperm frozen for 50 years and sperm frozen for a year," Rickard said.

Out of 56 ewes inseminated, 34 were successfully impregnated. This compares to recently frozen semen from 19 sires used to inseminate 1,048 ewes, of which 618 were successfully impregnated.

This gives a pregnancy rate of 61 per cent for the 50-year-old semen against 59 per cent for recently frozen sperm, a statistically equivalent rate.

The original semen was donated around 1960s from sires owned by the Walker family and was frozen in 1968 by Dr Steven Salamon.

(With inputs from sources)

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First Published : 18 Mar 2019, 11:33:39 AM

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