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B. BARCIKOWSKI, S. K. SAKSENA and A. BARTKE

Prostaglandins (PGs) can be synthesized by the testes (Ellis, 1972) and are present in the male accessory reproductive tissues and in the semen of various mammalian species (Bygdeman, Fredricsson, Svanborg & Samuelsson, 1970; Tan & Privett, 1972). Their physiological rôle in the male reproductive system is not understood but various effects of PG administration on the testes and male reproductive tract have been reported. These include decrease in plasma testosterone levels (Bartke, Musto, Caldwell & Behrman, 1973; Saksena, Safoury & Bartke, 1973), decrease in testicular blood flow (Free & Jaffe, 1972), and effects on contractions of the testis capsule (Seeley, Hargrove, Johnson & Ellis, 1972), on sperm transport (Hunt & Nicholson, 1972), and on contractile responses of the ductus deferens and seminal vesicles in vitro (Stahl, 1972; Taylor & Einhorn, 1972). In the human, certain cases of male infertility appear to be associated with a low seminal content of PGs

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D Rath, S Barcikowski, S de Graaf, W Garrels, R Grossfeld, S Klein, W Knabe, C Knorr, W Kues, H Meyer, J Michl, G Moench-Tegeder, C Rehbock, U Taylor and S Washausen

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D Rath, S Barcikowski, S de Graaf, W Garrels, R Grossfeld, S Klein, W Knabe, C Knorr, W Kues, H Meyer, J Michl, G Moench-Tegeder, C Rehbock, U Taylor and S Washausen

Pre-selection of spermatozoa based on the relative DNA difference between X- and Y-chromosome bearing populations by flow cytometry is an established method that has been introduced into commercial cattle production. Although several important improvements have increased the sort efficiency, the fertilising ability of sexed spermatozoa based on offspring per insemination is still behind farmers' expectations. The main stress factors, especially on mitochondria, that reduce the lifespan of spermatozoa are described, and new technical as well as biological solutions to maintain the natural sperm integrity and to increase the sorting efficiency are discussed. Among these methods are the identification of Y-chromosome bearing spermatozoa by bi-functionalised gold nanoparticles and triplex hybridisation in vivo as well as new laser-controlled deflection system that replaces the deflection of spermatozoa in the electrostatic field. Additionally, as well as a new nonsurgical transfer system of spermatozoa into the oviduct of cows has been developed and allows a significant reduction of spermatozoa per transfer. Altogether, the improvements made in the recent years will allow a broader use of sex-sorted spermatozoa even in those species that require more cells than cows and sheep.