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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2020) 17 CPRCPR18 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.17.0018

CPR2005 Control of Pig Reproduction VII (1) (25 abstracts)

Harnessing the biology of the oviduct for the benefit of artificial insemination

W.V. Holt 1 , R.M.A. Elliott 1 , A. Fazeli 2 , E. Sostaric 2 , A.S. Georgiou 2 , N. Satake 1,3 & N. Prathalingam 3 and P.F. Watson

1Institute of Zoology, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, UK; 2Academic Unit of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, The University of Sheffield, Level 4, The lessop Wing, Tree Root Walk, Sheffield 510 25F, UK; 3VBS, Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, London NW7 OTU, UK

Spermatozoa fulfil a single role, namely achieving syngamy by transporting the haploid genome to their counterpart gamete, the oocyte. Simple as this may seem, it is fraught with many difficulties, especially in the face of biological processes that enable females to select spermatozoa after they have mated multiply with several males. Conversely, the female reproductive tract sequesters a privileged sperm subpopulation in the oviductal isthmus for variable periods of time, releasing them when the time is opportune for fertilisation. Recent studies of sperm transport in the female reproductive tract suggest that these phenomena involve signalling dialogues between spermatozoa and the female reproductive tract environment. Opportunities for mutual signalling are immense but have received relatively little attention. The oviduct is an organ of crucial significance in modulating sperm function and may be one of the most important sites for determining many aspects of sperm selection and competition. The oviductal environment possesses the potential for enhancing sperm survival, suppressing and activating sperm motility as required, and responds to the arrival of spermatozoa by producing novel proteins. While the biological nature of the sperm-oviduct dialogue is interesting for its own sake, the mechanisms that govern these processes offer opportunities for the improvement of artificial insemination procedures. If oviductal proteins enhance sperm survival, they offer opportunities for the development of long-life semen diluents. Conversely, if we understood the basis of sperm selection we may be able to concentrate on identifying and using only the best sperm subpopulations for improved animal breeding efficiency.

© 2005 Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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