Quality of spermatozoal morphology in angus yearling bulls may be related to hair whorl shape - hair whorls and bull fertility
Mortimer, R. G.
Burns, P. D.
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In humans, abnormal hair whorl patterns on the scalp are found in children with developmental disorders such as Down's syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome. Previous research has shown that hair whorl position on a bovine's forehead may be related to temperament. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between spermatozoal morphology and facial hair whorl epicenter. Breeding Soundness Evaluations (BSE) were given to 150 Angus yearling bulls (avg. age = 364 ± 1.4 days of age) from 3different locations. Animals had 1 (n = 120), 2 (n = 12) whorls or no facial hair whorl (n = 18). Bulls with no facial hair whorls were not included in the analysis. Facial hair whorls were categorized by 2 distinct characteristics: having a round epicenter or having a non-round epicenter. Bulls with 1 or 2 facial hair whorls with a round epicenter had a higher percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa (79 ± 1.5%) than bulls with 1 or 2 facial hair whorls with a non-round epicenter (71 ± 2.1%; P=0.005). Age of bull did not have a significant effect on percentage of normal spermatozoa (P = 0.80). Bulls with facial hair whorls with a round epicenter were more likely to have satisfactory spermatozoal morphology scores (70% morphologically normal spermatozoa) than bulls with facial hair whorls with non-round epicenters (P 0.002). Eighty-two percent of bulls with facial hair whorls with round epicenters had satisfactory spermatozoal morphology scores, while only 57% of bulls with facial hair whorls with non-round epicenters had satisfactory morphology scores. It is possible that a facial hair whorl could be used as a visual aid in determining the quality, of spermatozoal morphology either during or prior to a BSE.