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Biol Reprod. 1999 Aug;61(2):400-5.

Sperm mobility: A primary determinant of fertility in the domestic fowl (Gallus domesticus).

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331, USA.


Previous research demonstrated that sperm mobility is a quantitative trait of the domestic fowl. The trait is quantified by measuring the absorbance of an Accudenz solution after overlay with a sperm suspension and brief incubation at body temperature. In the present work, average and high sperm mobility phenotypes (n = 30 males per phenotype) were selected from a base population. Differences were found between sperm oxygen consumption (p < 0.0001), acylcarnitine content (p < 0.05), linear velocity (p < 0.001), and straightness (p < 0.001), a trajectory variable measured with the Hobson SpermTracker. Oxygen consumption and stearoylcarnitine content of sperm from the high-mobility phenotype were twice those observed with sperm from average males, implying a pivotal role for mitochondria. On the basis of these results, a graded relationship was predicted between fertility and sperm mobility. Males (n = 48) were chosen at random from another base population, sperm mobility was measured per male, and each ejaculate was used to inseminate 8-12 hens (8 x 10(7) viable sperm per hen). When fertility was plotted as a function of sperm mobility, data points approximated a skewed logistic function. The hypothesis that vaginal immunoglobulins constitute an immunological barrier to sperm transport was tested and rejected. Therefore, we concluded that sperm mobility is a primary determinant of fertility in the fowl.

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