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11 September 2013 Sperm Population Structure and Male Fertility: An Intraspecific Study of Sperm Design and Velocity in Red Deer
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Abstract

Sperm design and velocity play key roles in influencing sperm performance and, therefore, can determine fertilization success. Several interspecific studies have demonstrated how these features correlate, and it has been hypothesized that selection may drive changes in these sperm traits. Here, we examine the association between sperm design and swimming velocity in a study conducted at an intraspecific level in Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus). We addressed how the structure of different sperm subpopulations, based on sperm morphometry and velocity, are interrelated and, in turn, how they associate with fertility. Our results show that males with high fertility rates have ejaculates with high percentages of spermatozoa exhibiting fast and linear movements and that these are highly correlated with a large proportion of spermatozoa having small and elongated heads. On the other hand, males with low fertility are characterized by a subpopulation structure in which slow and nonlinear as well as small and wide spermatozoa are predominant. These findings provide insight regarding how sperm size and velocity are interrelated and how they both are associated with fertility.

Manuel Ramón, Ana Josefa Soler, José Antonio Ortiz, Olga García-Alvarez, Alejandro Maroto-Morales, Eduardo R.S. Roldan, and José Julián Garde "Sperm Population Structure and Male Fertility: An Intraspecific Study of Sperm Design and Velocity in Red Deer," Biology of Reproduction 89(5), (11 September 2013). https://doi.org/10.1095/biolreprod.113.112110
Received: 6 July 2013; Accepted: 1 August 2013; Published: 11 September 2013
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