Numerous studies have been published on the ultrastructural aspects of mammalian fertilization (Szollosi & Ris, 1961; Hadek, 1963, 1969; Austin, 1968; Barros & Franklin, 1968), and several recent articles have described changes in the head of the mammalian spermatozoon following its incorporation into the egg (Szollosi, 1965, 1969; Bedford, 1968; Hadek, 1969; Presley, 1969). Little attention, however, has been paid to the fate of the sperm tail in the cleaving ovum. Although the axial filaments of the fertilizing mouse spermatozoon can still be observed within the zygote a few hours after copulation (Presley, 1969), swelling and breakdown of the paternal mitochondria occur before the first cleavage, and the sperm tail disintegrates soon thereafter (Szollosi, 1969). Sperm tails (assumed to be supernumerary) have nevertheless been
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