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Type: Journal article
Title: Evolution of the testis and spermatozoon in mice and rats (Subfamily Murinae) in the absence of sperm competition
Author: Peirce, E.
McLennan, H.
Tuke, J.
Leigh, C.
Breed, W.
Citation: Journal of Zoology, 2018; 306(1):58-68
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0952-8369
Statement of
E. J. Peirce, H. J. McLennan, J. Tuke, C. M. Leigh, W. G. Breed
Abstract: This study explores the potential effects of interspecific differences in breeding systems on testis organisation and sperm morphology of native murid rodents. It poses the question – what are the effects of depressed levels of intermale sperm competition, as indicated by small relative testes mass, on the morphology of testes and spermatozoa in murine rodents? Species from three separate murine tribes, those of the Hydromyini, Rattini and Arvicanthini, were investigated with low relative testes mass being used as a proxy for low, or non-existent, levels of intermale sperm competition. The findings show that in only one of the tribes with low relative testes mass, that of the Hydromyini, was there a reduced testicular area occupied by seminiferous tubules, but in two of the tribes significantly smaller seminiferous tubule diameters were present. In all three tribes, most species with low relative testes mass had a highly derived sperm morphology that, unlike in species with large relative testes mass, had spermatozoa where the head lacked an apical hook, was highly variable in form, often had a very large acrosome overlying the apical region of the nucleus which suggests divergent processes of sperm–egg interaction at the time of fertilisation, and a significantly shorter tail. It is therefore hypothesised that, unlike in species with a large relative testes mass where high levels of intermale sperm competition maintain a streamlined sperm head with an apical hook to aid in zona penetration, in most species of murine rodents with low relative testes mass there is greater reliance on enzymatic digestion of the extracellular matrix around the egg, and especially that of the zona pellucida, to facilitate sperm penetration at the time of fertilisation.
Rights: © 2018 The Zoological Society of London
DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12573
Grant ID: ARC
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
Environment Institute publications

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