Spermatozoa of domestic animals may vary considerably in response to handling in the laboratory (Mann, 1964) and during preparation for artificial insemination (Jones, 1971a), but it is not known why such structurally similar cells should behave so differently. The plasma membranes of spermatozoa from the various species may differ in physical properties, but because spermatozoa are structurally unsuitable for tests which are performed on other cells, such as erythrocytes, this is not an easy hypothesis to test.
Jones (1971b) found that when boar semen was fixed in solutions of glutaraldehyde containing from 175 mm- to 100 mm-sodium cacodylate, the decrease in buffer concentration caused the plasma membranes of the spermatozoa to swell and break; around the head, where the response was greatest, the amount of swelling and incidence of breakage was inversely related to the buffer concentration of the fixative. As these methods may provide a measure
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