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Type: Journal article
Title: The spermatozoon of Eurasian murine rodents: Its morphological diversity and evolution
Author: Breed, W.
Citation: Journal of Morphology, 2004; 261(1):52-69
Publisher: Wiley-Liss
Issue Date: 2004
ISSN: 0362-2525
Statement of
William G. Breed
Abstract: The murine rodents are the most speciose subfamily of mammals. Here the morphology of the spermatozoon, as determined by scanning and transmission electron microscopy of representative species from four Eurasian clades, is described. Much interspecific variability in all components of the spermatozoon was found to occur, although most species have a bilaterally flattened sperm head with a single apical hook of variable length and orientation. Ultrastructural observations indicate that this apical hook invariably contains a nuclear projection as well as a large extension of the subacrosomal cytoskeleton, as a perforatorium rostrally, and a complex asymmetrical acrosomal extension. These spermatozoa also have relatively long tails that are attached to the lower concave surface of the sperm head. Uniquely, in species in the Apodemus clade, the apical hook is orientated caudally. In a few species a highly derived sperm head morphotype that does not contain an apical hook is present. These sperm heads vary in morphology from being globular in two species of Bandicota, to bilaterally flattened and paddle-shaped in Tokudaia and Micromys. In spermatozoa of the latter two genera the subacrosomal cytoskeleton, which is less extensive than in species with a hooked sperm head, forms an apical extension, but that is not the case in Bandicota. In all species where the sperm head lacks an apical hook the acrosome is more symmetrical. The sperm tail is much shorter in these species, with attachment to the head occurring on the ventral surface in Tokudaia and basal in Micromys and the two species of Bandicota. As the sperm head morphotype with a complex apical hook is present in all the major clades of murine rodents, it is likely to be a plesiomorphic character within each of these clades, with the nonhooked sperm heads, which vary greatly in structure between species of the different lineages, probably being independently derived. The ultrastructural organization of the sperm head of Bandicota, but not those of Micromys or Tokudaia, suggest divergence in some of the morphological events associated with sperm-egg interaction at the time of fertilization.
Keywords: Sperm Head
Sperm Tail
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
Biological Evolution
DOI: 10.1002/jmor.10228
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Anatomical Sciences publications
Aurora harvest
Environment Institute publications

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