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      Within-ejaculate sperm competition

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          Abstract

          Sperm competition was defined by Geoff Parker 50 years ago as the competition between sperm from two or more males over the fertilization of a set of eggs. Since the publication of his seminal paper, sperm competition has developed into a large field of research, and many aspects are still being discovered. One of the relatively poorly understood aspects is the importance of selection and competition among sperm within the ejaculate of a male. The sheer number of sperm present in a male's ejaculate suggests that the competition among sibling sperm produced by the same male may be intense. In this review, we summarize Parker's theoretical models generating predictions about the evolution of sperm traits under the control of the haploid gamete as opposed to the diploid male. We review the existing evidence of within-ejaculate competition from a wide range of fields and taxa. We also discuss the conceptual and practical hurdles we have been facing to study within-ejaculate sperm competition, and how novel technologies may help in addressing some of the currently open questions.

          This article is part of the theme issue ‘Fifty years of sperm competition’.

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          Most cited references 86

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          SPERM COMPETITION AND ITS EVOLUTIONARY CONSEQUENCES IN THE INSECTS

           G. A. Parker (1970)
          Biological Reviews, 45(4), 525-567
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            The Units of Selection

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              Sperm in competition: not playing by the numbers.

               Rhonda Snook (2004)
              The outcome of sperm competition is mediated largely by the relative numbers of sperm from competing males. However, substantial variation in features of sperm morphology and behaviour, such as length, longevity and motility, exists and researchers have suggested that this variation functions in postcopulatory sexual selection. Recent studies have determined the effect of these sperm-quality traits on fertilization success and a synthesis of this literature reveals that they are important in both sperm competition and cryptic female choice. To understand how postcopulatory sexual selection influences sperm traits, future research should determine sex-specific interactions that influence paternity, identify genetic correlations between ejaculate characters, quantify the relative costs of producing different sperm traits, and test assumptions of models of sperm quality evolution. Such research will shed light on what evolutionary pressures are responsible for the diversity in sperm morphometry and behaviour.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
                Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci
                RSTB
                royptb
                Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
                The Royal Society
                0962-8436
                1471-2970
                7 December 2020
                19 October 2020
                19 October 2020
                : 375
                : 1813 , Theme issue ‘Fifty years of sperm competition’ compiled and edited by Leigh W. Simmons and Nina Wedell
                Affiliations
                School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia , Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
                Author notes

                One contribution of 22 to a theme issue ‘ Fifty years of sperm competition’.

                Article
                rstb20200066
                10.1098/rstb.2020.0066
                7661457
                33070737
                aec23fc5-b521-4c9e-87ac-4a367c2bce5a
                © 2020 The Authors.

                Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council, http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000270;
                Award ID: NE/S011188/1
                Categories
                1001
                70
                Articles
                Review Article
                Custom metadata
                December 7, 2020

                Philosophy of science

                haploid selection, meiotic drive, genetic conflict, multi-level selection

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