Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Gamete biology of the new world marsupial, the grey short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica

HD Moore

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 8(4) 605 - 615
Published: 1996


Mammalian gametes undergo a series of functional and developmental changes that culminate in fertilization. In order to appreciate the necessity for such complex processes as sperm maturation, capacitation and the intimate sperm-egg interactions leading to gamete fusion, it is important to understand how gametes may have evolved. In this respect, marsupials are particularly relevant since they exhibit features reminiscent of both non-mammalian vertebrates and eutherian mammals. The grey short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica, is a New World marsupial from Brazil. It breeds well under laboratory conditions and is an excellent animal model to investigate marsupial gamete biology. As in other American marsupials, the spermatozoa of the opossum form pairs in the epididymis. Here, a number of studies carried out in this laboratory, related to sperm maturation, capacitation and fertilization in M. domestica, are reviewed and the gamete biology in this species is compared with what is known in other marsupials and eutherian mammals.

© CSIRO 1996

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