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Zygote. 2002 Feb;10(1):23-9.

Double copulation of a female with sterile diploid and polyploid males recovers fertility in Bombyx mori.

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Department of Applied Bioscience, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.


Silkworm males produce dimorphic sperm, nucleate eupyrene sperm and anucleate apyrene sperm. Apyrene sperm have been speculated to have an assisting role in fertilisation. However, the coexistence of eupyrene and apyrene sperm in the testis and female reproductive organs has made it difficult to define the role of apyrene sperm. Polyploid males are highly sterile. Microscopic observation revealed that the elimination of eupyrene nuclei by peristaltic squeezing caused the sterility of polyploids. Heat-shock applied to pupae of Daizo males (DH) also induced high sterility due to the lack of normal apyrene sperm. When eupyrene sperm of sterile DH males and apyrene sperm of sterile polyploid males were mixed by double copulation, a remarkable increase in fertility of the double-mated females was observed. This finding strongly suggests that the apyrene sperm are indispensable in fertilisation of the silkworm and that polyploid apyrene sperm function as a substitute for diploid sperm. We established an experimental system in which we can separate the two types of sperm for further studies on their functions without chemical and/or mechanical treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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