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Title

Postcopulatory sexual selection results in spermatozoa with more uniform head and flagellum sizes in rodents

AuthorsVarea-Sánchez, María; Gómez Montoto, Laura ; Tourmente, Maximiliano ; Roldán, Eduardo R. S.
Issue Date2014
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 9(9): e108148 (2014)
Abstract© 2014 Varea-Sánchez et al. Interspecific comparative studies have shown that, in most taxa, postcopulatory sexual selection (PCSS) in the form of sperm competition drives the evolution of longer and faster swimming sperm. Work on passserine birds has revealed that PCSS also reduces variation in sperm size between males at the intraspecific level. However, the influence of PCSS upon intramale sperm size diversity is poorly understood, since the few studies carried out to date in birds have yielded contradictory results. In mammals, PCSS increases sperm size but there is little information on the effects of this selective force on variations in sperm size and shape. Here, we test whether sperm competition associates with a reduction in the degree of variation of sperm dimensions in rodents. We found that as sperm competition levels increase males produce sperm that are more similar in both the size of the head and the size of the flagellum. On the other hand, whereas with increasing levels of sperm competition there is less variation in head length in relation to head width (ratio CV head length/CV head width), there is no relation between variation in head and flagellum sizes (ratio CV head length/CV flagellum length). Thus, it appears that, in addition to a selection for longer sperm, sperm competition may select more uniform sperm heads and flagella, which together may enhance swimming velocity. Overall, sperm competition seems to drive sperm components towards an optimum design that may affect sperm performance which, in turn, will be crucial for successful fertilization.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/122789
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0108148
Identifiersdoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108148
issn: 1932-6203
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