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Article

Can Sexual Selection Drive the Evolution of Sperm Cell Structure?

1
Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences (M092), The University of Western Australia, Crawley 6009, Australia
2
Doñana Biological Station-CSIC, c/Americo Vespucio 26, Isla de la Cartuja, 41092 Sevilla, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexander E. Kalyuzhny
Cells 2021, 10(5), 1227; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10051227
Received: 1 April 2021 / Revised: 4 May 2021 / Accepted: 14 May 2021 / Published: 17 May 2021
Sperm cells have undergone an extraordinarily divergent evolution among metazoan animals. Parker recognized that because female animals frequently mate with more than one male, sexual selection would continue after mating and impose strong selection on sperm cells to maximize fertilization success. Comparative analyses among species have revealed a general relationship between the strength of selection from sperm competition and the length of sperm cells and their constituent parts. However, comparative analyses cannot address causation. Here, we use experimental evolution to ask whether sexual selection can drive the divergence of sperm cell phenotype, using the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus as a model. We either relaxed sexual selection by enforcing monogamy or allowed sexual selection to continue for 20 generations before sampling males and measuring the total length of sperm cells and their constituent parts, the acrosome, nucleus, and flagella. We found differences in the length of the sperm cell nucleus but no differences in the length of the acrosome, flagella, or total sperm length. Our data suggest that different sperm cell components may respond independently to sexual selection and contribute to the divergent evolution of these extraordinary cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: experimental evolution; Onthophagus; dung beetles; sperm competition; cryptic female choice; sperm length experimental evolution; Onthophagus; dung beetles; sperm competition; cryptic female choice; sperm length
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MDPI and ACS Style

Simmons, L.W.; Garcia-Gonzalez, F. Can Sexual Selection Drive the Evolution of Sperm Cell Structure? Cells 2021, 10, 1227. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10051227

AMA Style

Simmons LW, Garcia-Gonzalez F. Can Sexual Selection Drive the Evolution of Sperm Cell Structure? Cells. 2021; 10(5):1227. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10051227

Chicago/Turabian Style

Simmons, Leigh W.; Garcia-Gonzalez, Francisco. 2021. "Can Sexual Selection Drive the Evolution of Sperm Cell Structure?" Cells 10, no. 5: 1227. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells10051227

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