Ital.J.anIm.ScI. vol. 6, (Suppl. 2), 667-670, 2007 667
DAG defect in Murrah buffalo bulls in Brazil
H.F.L. Ribeiro, W.G. Vale
Universidade Federal Rural da Amazonia – UFRA
Instituto da Saúde e Produção Animal – ISPA
Belém, Pará, Brasil
Corresponding author: H.F.L. Ribeiro. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
abstract: Dag defect sperms have an abnormal tail coiled morphology are totally or
almost totally immotile and have severe abnormalities on the fibers in the axial filament.
This defect in bovine was shown to be due an autosomal recessive gene. In the present
study 23 buffalo bulls age 18-34 months examined for BSE (Breeding Soundness Examina-
tion) showed sperm motility varied between 0 to 70% accomplished with 10 a 65% of sperm
pathology with or not a predominance of strong coiled tails with or without persistence of
droplet. In Brazil Murrah breed have had only eight female PO (pure of origin - India) gave
origin of the herd and not more than four males where also imported from India, although
in the last two decades some quantity of frozen semen were introduced in the country im-
ported from India. As in the other domestic species inbreed seems to be the main cause of
this abnormalities in different breeds. The knowledge and further study of such abnormali-
ties is the only way to overcome a problem that if not controlled will tend to spread out
without control causing in the future more problem for development of some herds.
Key words: Buffalo, Dag defect, Spermatozoa, Sperm pathology.
INtrODUctION - In the last century classic works on the infertility of domestic ani-
mals demonstrated that infertility in the male bovine and buffaloes can be associated with
characteristic morphological changes in the sperm population (Lagerlöf , 1934;1951;1963;
Götze, 1949; Blom, 1950;1966;1972; Rao Ramamohana, 1984; Vale and Ohashi, 1994). In
Brazil buffalo is raised in the whole country and there are four breeds Murrah, Mediterra-
nean, Jafarabadi and the Swamp type called Carabao. For the origin of these breeds it has
been introduced a reduced number of animals although in the last two decades also frozen
semen was introduced. Furthermore the origin of Murrah breed was based in animals Pure
Imported of Origin (POI) when only 11 animals imported from India spread out in Brazil
for the formation of this breed (ABCB, 1986). On the other hand other kind of morphologi-
cal defects in the male genital system where observed in Brazil such as classic testicular
hypoplasia, epididymal dysfunction, a type of arrested development of the testis in a form
of hypoplasia and aplasia, arrested development of mesonephric ducts malformation which
are supposed to be of genetic origin (Vale et al.1988; Vale and Ohashi, 1995; Ohashi et al.
1998; Vale et al. 2002). The term Dag defect was coined in the Danish Jersey breed when
a young bull named Dag and one year latter in his younger full brothers showed a large
number of sperm abnormalities characterized by coiled and folded tails (Blom,1972). Both
bulls showed low fertility and a very peculiar sperm pathology. Danish workers conducted
further studies and tracing back to a common ancestor born in 1934 and found 15 related
bulls. All the animals affected had a low initial sperm motility of 10 to 15% and very poor
fertility. These bulls had about 40 to 50 per cent of their sperm cells with strongly coiled,
folded or split tails. The fibers in the axial filament were normal in the tetis but abnormal
when the cells reached to cauda epididymis. This defect was shown to be due to an auto-
somal recessive factor (Blom, 1972).
MatErIaL aND MEtHODs - 92 Murrah buffalo bulls, age between 18-34 months ex-
amined for BSE (Breeding Soundness Examination). A general health status and the sexual
organs of the bulls were examined. At least five semen samples from each bulls were col-
lected through electroejaculation. The ejaculate volume was measured directly in graduate
sampling tubes. Assessment of wave motion, sperm motility, vigor were evaluate in a scale
of 0 to 5 and the concentration was estimated by haemocytometer after dilution 1:100 in
a solution of buffered formol-saline solution as well as two drops of fresh semen for humid
preparation. The sperm morphology was evaluated through a semen smear stained through
Cerosky method and wet preparation on a slide and cover slide. 200 stained and in the wet
preparation sperms were counted in a light and phase contrast microscopy.
rEsULts aND DIscUssION - Among 92 Murrah buffalo bulls, age between 18-34
months examined for BSE (Breeding Soundness Examination ) it was observed 23 where the
sperm motility varied between 0 to 70% accomplished with 10 a 65% of sperm pathology with
a predominance of strong coiled tails with or without persistence of droplet, Table 1.
When over 20 to 30 per cent of sperm cells are affected, fertility is moderately to severely
reduced even though the motility and number of sperm were normal. Very few animals
were introduced in Brazil for the formation of the different breeds with exception of the
Mediterranean type. For the Murrah breed it has been reported that only eight females and
four males gave origin of the whole herd although in the recent years semen from India was
introduced. It is quite sure that the inbreeding observed actually in the buffalo breeding
system in some herds are combined with this type of abnormalities.
Figure 1. Presence of sperm cells in
a ejaculate of a buffalo bull
with presence of Dag defect,
Cerosky stain 1.000 X.
Figure 2. Different forms of Dag
defect sperms in buffalo
semen. Cerosky stain.
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VIII WORLD BUFFALO CONGRESS
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Table 1. Presentation of the spermiogram summary of 23 Murrah buffaloes male
with Dag defect in the seminal picture.
*200 sperm cells were counted.
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