|Title||Effect of early development on semen parameters and lifespan of rabbit males selected by high growth rate.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2019|
|Authors||Martínez-Paredes, E, Llorens, J, Ródenas, L, Savietto, D, Pascual, JJ|
|Date Published||2019 Nov|
Life history theory suggests that different body development dynamics may influence survival and future reproductive performance of organisms. The present work studied how these dynamics could influence seminal traits and lifespan of rabbit males selected for growth rate and intended for AI. To achieve this goal, a total of 550 rabbit males were controlled from birth, evaluated both during the testing phase (four consecutive weeks after reaching 147 days of life) and the productive phase (377 of them from the end of the testing phase until 2 years of life). In order to obtain individuals with different body development dynamics, we pre-selected males based on their live weight (LW) at 0, 28, 63 and 147 days and on their average daily gain (ADG) between each period (0-28, 28-63 and 63-147 days). Libido and main seminal traits (semen volume, motility, concentration, and production, as well as normal apical ridge and abnormalities of spermatozoa) were controlled during the testing phase. Semen volume, motility and concentration were subsequently controlled during the productive phase, as well as the length of the male life, calculated as the number of days a rabbit was present at the farm between age 147 and day of death, culling or censoring; set to 2 years of life). The birth weight, the ADG between 0 and 28 days and between 28 and 63 days were positively related to some seminal parameters measured during the testing phase (semen volume, concentration, production and motility; P < 0.05), while the ADG between 63 and 147 days was negatively related to the seminal productivity throughout the productive life of the males (an increment of 10 g per day on ADG reduced the number of profitable ejaculates by 4.9%; P < 0.05). In addition, a higher growth between 0 and 28 and between 63 and 147 days increased the risk of death or culling of males during the productive phase (P < 0.05). In conclusion, an adequate body development early in life seems to have a positive effect on the degree of sexual maturity with which male rabbits begin their reproductive life, but reaching the reproduction onset with excessive weight can reduce their reproductive performance and lifespan.