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Within-ejaculate selection for sperm longevity reduces male reproductive ageing
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics. (Simone Immler)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics. (Simone Immler)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics. (Simone Immler)
University of East Anglia.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Males produce numerous sperm in the single ejaculate that greatly outnumber their potential egg targets. Recent studies found that phenotypic variation among sperm in the single ejaculate of a male reflects the phenotype and the genotype of the resulting offspring. Specifically, within-ejaculate sperm selection (WESS) for sperm longevity increased the performance of the resulting offspring in several key life-history traits in early-life. Because increased early-life reproductive performance often correlates with rapid ageing, it is possible that WESS increases early-life fitness at the cost of accelerated senescence. Alternatively, WESS can improve offspring quality throughout the life cycle, including reduced age-specific deterioration. We found that WESS for sperm longevity reduced age-specific deterioration of male fertility and embryo survival, while there is no effect on fertilization success. Remarkably, we found opposing effect of WESS on female fecundity, where selection for sperm longevity resulted in increased early-life performance followed by a slow decline, while unselected controls started low but increased their fecundity with age. Intriguingly, WESS also reduced the age-specific decline in fertilization success in females, suggesting that selection for sperm longevity improves at least some aspects of female reproductive ageing. These results demonstrate that within-ejaculate variation in sperm phenotype contributes to individual variation in animal life histories in the two sexes and have important implications for assisted fertilization programs in livestock and humans. 

Keywords [en]
Ageing, Reproductive Success, Sperm Selection, Sperm Competition, Senescence
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Evolutionary Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-350186OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-350186DiVA, id: diva2:1204331
Available from: 2018-05-07 Created: 2018-05-07 Last updated: 2018-05-07
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