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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/18913

Title: The Evolution of Caenorhabditis elegans Sperm Traits Involved in Reproductive Success by Self-fertilizing Hermaphrodites and in Male-male Post-mating Contests
Authors: Murray, Rosalind Louise
Advisor: Cutter, Asher
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Keywords: experimental evolution
Caenorhabditis elegans
sperm competition
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2010
Abstract: Sperm play a pivotal role in determining the reproductive success of individuals whose sperm must compete directly with that of others. I used sperm precedence assays and experimental evolution to examine the role of sperm traits in the reproductive success of hermaphrodites and males in the androdioecious nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. First, sperm size and the rate of reproduction were analyzed, in the context of male-male sperm competition, for evidence of natural heritable variation. Sperm size proved to be a strong indicator of second-male sperm precedence in the genotypes examined. Second, I tested the theoretically predicted effect of larval development time on the number of self-sperm produced by hermaphrodites. I demonstrated that a short larval development period favored the evolution of fewer sperm, inline with theoretical predictions. These results provide important insights into C. elegans reproductive biology and more generally to our understanding of the evolution of reproductive systems.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/18913
Appears in Collections:Master
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology - Master theses

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