Sperm Mobility: A Quantitative Trait of the Domestic Fowl (Gallus Domesticus)

Biol Reprod. 1998 Feb;58(2):379-84. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod58.2.379.


Sperm from each rooster within a base population (n = 271) were evaluated with a mobility assay validated in previous work. Frequency analysis confirmed a normal distribution for the variable of sperm mobility. Repeated-measure analysis of males categorized by phenotype demonstrated that average and high sperm mobility phenotypes were distinct and independent of time. Sperm morphology, fertilizing ability, and ATP content were compared between phenotypes. Fertility and sperm ATP content differed (p < 0.001) between phenotypes, whereas sperm morphology did not (p > 0.05). Experimentation with washed sperm demonstrated that phenotype was fully expressed when mitochondrial respiration was the only source of ATP. Sperm mobility increased (p < 0.001) when sperm from average males were exposed to calyculin A, a protein phosphatase inhibitor. Correlation analyses were performed with data from a subpopulation (n = 46) whose range, mean, and variance were equivalent to those of the base population. Neither body weight nor the combined weight of the testes was correlated with sperm mobility (r = -0.02 and 0.01, respectively). In contrast, sperm ATP content was correlated with sperm mobility (r = 0.80). We attribute phenotypic differences in sperm mobility to differential rates of mitochondrial ATP synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Aging / physiology
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Cell Respiration / physiology
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Glycolysis / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Sperm Motility / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / drug effects
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism
  • Spermatozoa / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases