I am a PhD student (Chinese Research Council Scholarship) in the Sperm Biology and the Mito-Nuclear Groups. Using the Drosophila mitolines, I am aiming to separate nuclear genetic and mitochondrial genetic effects, and environmental effects on sperm function, such as sperm viability, sperm quality, sperm metabolic parameters…. My research will also involve the quantification of ROS production in sperm.
In medicine, sperm dysfunction has been suggested to be the main cause of male infertility. In an evolutionary perspective, sperm function is a key trait because only the high quality sperm can transmit genetic materials to next generation.
In addition to nuclear genetic variation occurring between males, mitochondrial genetic variation (Dowling et al., 2007) has also been suggested to have a close relationship with sperm competitive ability. The mechanism is not clear but is possibly mediated by the mitochondrioal interaction with the nuclear genome via the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) pathway. More recently, environmental factors, which were largely neglected in studies of sperm competition, have also been revealed to play an essential role in sperm function (Reinhardt et al., 2015).