Fluorescent sperm offer a method for tracking the real-time success of ejaculates when they compete to fertilise eggs

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    5 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Despite intensive research effort, many uncertainties remain in the field of gamete-level sexual selection, particularly in understanding how sperm from different males interact when competing for fertilisations. Here, we demonstrate the utility of broadcast spawning marine invertebrates for unravelling these mysteries, highlighting their mode of reproduction and, in some species, unusual patterns of mitochondrial inheritance. We present a method utilising both properties in the blue mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. In mytilids and many other bivalves, both sperm and egg mitochondria are inherited. We exploit this, using the vital mitochondrial dye MitoTracker, to track the success of sperm from individual males when they compete with those from rivals to fertilise eggs. We confirm that dying mitochondria has no adverse effects on in vitro measures of sperm motility (reflecting mitochondrial energetics) or sperm competitive fertilisation success. Therefore, we propose the technique as a powerful and logistically tractable tool for sperm competition studies. Importantly, our method allows the competitive fertilisation success of sperm from any male to be measured directly and disentangled from confounding effects of post-fertilisation embryo survival. Moreover, the mitochondrial dye has broader applications in taxa without paternal mitochondrial inheritance, for example by tracking the dynamics of competing ejaculates prior to fertilisation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number22689
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    JournalScientific Reports
    Volume6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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    Eggs
    Spermatozoa
    Fertilization
    Mitochondrial Genes
    Mitochondria
    Coloring Agents
    Mytilus edulis
    Mytilus
    Sperm Motility
    Bivalvia
    Invertebrates
    Germ Cells
    Uncertainty
    Reproduction
    Ovum
    Embryonic Structures
    Research

    Cite this

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    title = "Fluorescent sperm offer a method for tracking the real-time success of ejaculates when they compete to fertilise eggs",
    abstract = "Despite intensive research effort, many uncertainties remain in the field of gamete-level sexual selection, particularly in understanding how sperm from different males interact when competing for fertilisations. Here, we demonstrate the utility of broadcast spawning marine invertebrates for unravelling these mysteries, highlighting their mode of reproduction and, in some species, unusual patterns of mitochondrial inheritance. We present a method utilising both properties in the blue mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. In mytilids and many other bivalves, both sperm and egg mitochondria are inherited. We exploit this, using the vital mitochondrial dye MitoTracker, to track the success of sperm from individual males when they compete with those from rivals to fertilise eggs. We confirm that dying mitochondria has no adverse effects on in vitro measures of sperm motility (reflecting mitochondrial energetics) or sperm competitive fertilisation success. Therefore, we propose the technique as a powerful and logistically tractable tool for sperm competition studies. Importantly, our method allows the competitive fertilisation success of sperm from any male to be measured directly and disentangled from confounding effects of post-fertilisation embryo survival. Moreover, the mitochondrial dye has broader applications in taxa without paternal mitochondrial inheritance, for example by tracking the dynamics of competing ejaculates prior to fertilisation.",
    author = "Rowan Lymbery and Jason Kennington and Jon Evans",
    year = "2016",
    doi = "10.1038/srep22689",
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    journal = "Scientific Reports",
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    T1 - Fluorescent sperm offer a method for tracking the real-time success of ejaculates when they compete to fertilise eggs

    AU - Lymbery, Rowan

    AU - Kennington, Jason

    AU - Evans, Jon

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    Y1 - 2016

    N2 - Despite intensive research effort, many uncertainties remain in the field of gamete-level sexual selection, particularly in understanding how sperm from different males interact when competing for fertilisations. Here, we demonstrate the utility of broadcast spawning marine invertebrates for unravelling these mysteries, highlighting their mode of reproduction and, in some species, unusual patterns of mitochondrial inheritance. We present a method utilising both properties in the blue mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. In mytilids and many other bivalves, both sperm and egg mitochondria are inherited. We exploit this, using the vital mitochondrial dye MitoTracker, to track the success of sperm from individual males when they compete with those from rivals to fertilise eggs. We confirm that dying mitochondria has no adverse effects on in vitro measures of sperm motility (reflecting mitochondrial energetics) or sperm competitive fertilisation success. Therefore, we propose the technique as a powerful and logistically tractable tool for sperm competition studies. Importantly, our method allows the competitive fertilisation success of sperm from any male to be measured directly and disentangled from confounding effects of post-fertilisation embryo survival. Moreover, the mitochondrial dye has broader applications in taxa without paternal mitochondrial inheritance, for example by tracking the dynamics of competing ejaculates prior to fertilisation.

    AB - Despite intensive research effort, many uncertainties remain in the field of gamete-level sexual selection, particularly in understanding how sperm from different males interact when competing for fertilisations. Here, we demonstrate the utility of broadcast spawning marine invertebrates for unravelling these mysteries, highlighting their mode of reproduction and, in some species, unusual patterns of mitochondrial inheritance. We present a method utilising both properties in the blue mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis. In mytilids and many other bivalves, both sperm and egg mitochondria are inherited. We exploit this, using the vital mitochondrial dye MitoTracker, to track the success of sperm from individual males when they compete with those from rivals to fertilise eggs. We confirm that dying mitochondria has no adverse effects on in vitro measures of sperm motility (reflecting mitochondrial energetics) or sperm competitive fertilisation success. Therefore, we propose the technique as a powerful and logistically tractable tool for sperm competition studies. Importantly, our method allows the competitive fertilisation success of sperm from any male to be measured directly and disentangled from confounding effects of post-fertilisation embryo survival. Moreover, the mitochondrial dye has broader applications in taxa without paternal mitochondrial inheritance, for example by tracking the dynamics of competing ejaculates prior to fertilisation.

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