The Sorraia, a critically endangered indigenous Iberian horse breed, is characterized by low genetic variability, high rate of inbreeding, bad sperm quality and subfertility. Here, we studied 11 phenotypically normal but subfertile Sorraia stallions by karyotyping, sex chromosome sperm-FISH and molecular analysis of FKBP6 - a susceptibility locus for impaired acrosome reaction (IAR). The stallions had normal sperm concentration (>300 million cells/ml), but the numbers of progressively motile sperm (21%) and morphologically normal sperm (28%) were invariably low. All stallions had a normal 64,XY karyotype. The majority of sperm (89%) had normal haploid sex chromosome content, although 11% of sperm carried various sex chromosome aneuploidies. No correlation was found between the percentage of sperm sex chromosome abnormalities and inbreeding, sperm morphology or stallion age. Direct sequencing of FKBP6 exon 4 for SNPs g.11040315G>A and g.11040379C>A revealed that none of the stallions had the susceptibility genotype (A/A-A/A) for IAR. Instead, all animals had a G/G-A/A genotype - a testimony of low genetic variability. The findings ruled out chromosomal abnormalities and genetic predisposition for IAR as contributing factors for subfertility. However, low fertility of the Sorraia stallions could be partly attributed to relatively higher rate of sex chromosome aneuploidies in the sperm.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology