Year : 2016  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 882-888

Recent advances in bird sperm morphometric analysis and its role in male gamete characterization and reproduction technologies

1 Department of Animal Reproduction, INIA, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2 Veterinary Clinical and Research Services, Fieb Foundation, 28760 Tres Cantos, Madrid, Spain
3 FAUNIA, 28032 Madrid, Spain

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Julian Santiago-Moreno
Department of Animal Reproduction, INIA, 28040 Madrid
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.188660

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Postcopulatory sexual selection through sperm competition may be an important evolutionary force affecting many reproductive traits, including sperm morphometrics. Environmental factors such as pollutants, pesticides, and climate change may affect different sperm traits, and thus reproduction, in sensitive bird species. Many sperm-handling processes used in assisted reproductive techniques may also affect the size of sperm cells. The accurately measured dimensions of sperm cell structures (especially the head) can thus be used as indicators of environmental influences, in improving our understanding of reproductive and evolutionary strategies, and for optimizing assisted reproductive techniques (e.g., sperm cryopreservation) for use with birds. Computer-assisted sperm morphometry analysis (CASA-Morph) provides an accurate and reliable method for assessing sperm morphometry, reducing the problem of subjectivity associated with human visual assessment. Computerized systems have been standardized for use with semen from different mammalian species. Avian spermatozoa, however, are filiform, limiting their analysis with such systems, which were developed to examine the approximately spherical heads of mammalian sperm cells. To help overcome this, the standardization of staining techniques to be used in computer-assessed light microscopical methods is a priority. The present review discusses these points and describes the sperm morphometric characteristics of several wild and domestic bird species.

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