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Exceptional sperm cooperation in the wood mouse

Moore, H., Dvorakova, K., Jenkins, N. and Breed, W. (2002) Exceptional sperm cooperation in the wood mouse. Nature, 418 (6894). pp. 174-177. ISSN 0028-0836

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Abstract

Spermatozoa from a single male will compete for fertilization of ova with spermatozoa from another male when present in the female reproductive tract at the same time. Close genetic relatedness predisposes individuals towards altruism, and as haploid germ cells of an ejaculate will have genotypic similarity of 50%, it is predicted that spermatozoa may display cooperation and altruism to gain an advantage when inter-male sperm competition is intense. We report here the probable altruistic behaviour of spermatozoa in an eutherian mammal. Spermatozoa of the common wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus, displayed a unique morphological transformation resulting in cooperation in distinctive aggregations or 'trains' of hundreds or thousands of cells, which significantly increased sperm progressive motility. Eventual dispersal of sperm trains was associated with most of the spermatozoa undergoing a premature acrosome reaction. Cells undergoing an acrosome reaction in aggregations remote from the egg are altruistic in that they help sperm transport to the egg but compromise their own fertilizing ability.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2002 Nature Publishing Group
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Medicine (Sheffield) > Clinical Sciences Division South (Sheffield) > Reproductive and Developmental Medicine (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2004
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 20:26
Published Version: http://www.nature.com/nature
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1038/nature00832
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/114

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