A limited diversity of character states for reproductive traits and a robust phylogeny make scleractinian corals an ideal model organism with which to explore the evolution of life-history traits. Here, we explore systematic and biogeographical patterns in the reproductive biology of the Scleractinia within the context of a new molecular phylogeny and using reproductive traits from nearly 400 species. Our analyses confirm that coral sexuality is highly conserved, and mode of larval development is relatively plastic. An overabundance of species with autotrophic larvae in the eastern Pacific and Atlantic is most likely the result of increased capacity for long-distance dispersal conferred by vertical transmission of symbiotic zooxanthellae. Spawning records from diverse biogeographical regions indicate that multispecies spawning occurs in all speciose coral assemblages. A new quantitative index of spawning synchrony shows peaks at mid-tropical latitudes in the Indo-Pacific, influenced in part by two spawning seasons in many species on equatorial reefs.
Schistosome parasites exhibit separate sexes and with the evolution of sex they have developed an intricate relationship between the male and female worms such that signals between the male and female that are initiated at the time of mating, regulate female reproductive development and subsequent egg production. As the egg stage is responsible for pathogenesis and transmission, understanding the molecular mechanisms of female reproductive development may identify novel targets for the control of transmission and morbidity of this major world public health problem. Recent data have demonstrated that the pairing process, proliferation, and differentiation of vitelline cells, expression of female-specific genes and egg embryogenesis are regulated by the TGFβ pathway and protein tyrosine kinases.
The human endometrium is receptive for implantation of a blastocyst for only 4–5 days in each menstrual cycle. Failure of implantation is a major reason for infertility in women and the inability to achieve endometrial receptivity is responsible for much of the failure of reproductive technologies. Endometrial receptivity requires changes in the uterine luminal and glandular cells, particularly in terms of their secretory capacity and altered expression of adhesion molecules. In parallel with these changes, decidualisation (differentiation) of the endometrial stroma is initiated in women during the receptive phase, regardless of the presence of a blastocyst. Increased leucocyte numbers are also important. The microenvironments provided by the endometrium during the receptive phase and that support implantation are highly complex and constantly changing as implantation progresses. The present review provides a comprehensive overview of the cellular and molecular events of human implantation. It also summarises work from our laboratories emphasising the functional importance of proprotein convertase 6, along with key cytokines (interleukin-11, leukaemia inhibitory factor, activin A) and chemokines (including CX3CL1 and CCL14), during implantation. Of particular importance is how these mediators contribute to receptivity and how they are disturbed in infertile women. Factors that are critical for uterine receptivity may also be manipulated to provide new contraceptive strategies for women.
BACKGROUND Many definitions used in medically assisted reproduction (MAR) vary in different settings, making it difficult to standardize and compare procedures in different countries and regions. With the expansion of infertility interventions worldwide, including lower resource settings, the importance and value of a common nomenclature is critical. The objective is to develop an internationally accepted and continually updated set of definitions, which would be utilized to standardize and harmonize international data collection, and to assist in monitoring the availability, efficacy, and safety of assisted reproductive technology (ART) being practiced worldwide. METHOD Seventy-two clinicians, basic scientists, epidemiologists and social scientists gathered together at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland in December, 2008. Several months in advance, three working groups were established which were responsible for terminology in three specific areas: clinical conditions and procedures, laboratory procedures and outcome measures. Each group reviewed the existing ICMART glossary, made recommendations for revisions and introduced new terms to be considered for glossary expansion. RESULTS A consensus was reached on 87 terms, expanding the original glossary by 34 terms, which included definitions for numerous clinical and laboratory procedures. Special emphasis was placed in describing outcome measures such as cumulative delivery rates and other markers of safety and efficacy in ART. CONCLUSIONS Standardized terminology should assist in analysis of worldwide trends in MAR interventions and in the comparison of ART outcomes across countries and regions. This glossary will contribute to a more standardized communication among professionals responsible for ART practice, as well as those responsible for national, regional and international registries.
• Background and Aims Cucumis melo subsp. agrestis (Cucurbitaceae) is cultivated in many African regions for its edible kernels used as a soup thickener. The plant, an annual, andromonoecious, trailing-vine species, is of high social, cultural and economic value for local communities. In order to improve the yield of this crop, the first step and our aim were to elucidate its breeding system. • Methods Eight experimental pollination treatments were performed during three growing seasons to assess spontaneous selfing, self-compatibility and effects of pollen source (hermaphroditic vs. male flowers). Pollination success was determined by pollen tube growth and reproductive success was assessed by fruit, seed and seedling numbers and characteristics. The pollinator guild was surveyed and the pollination distance determined both by direct observations and by indirect fluorescent dye dispersal. • Key Results The species is probably pollinated by several Hymenoptera, principally by Hypotrigona para. Pollinator flight distances varied from 25 to 69 cm. No evidence for apomixis or spontaneous self-pollination in the absence of insect visitors was found. The self-fertility index (SFI = 0) indicated a total dependence on pollinators for reproductive success. The effects of hand pollination on fruit set, seed number and seedling fitness differed among years. Pollen tube growth and reproductive success did not differ between self-and cross-pollinations. Accordingly, a high self-compatibility index for the fruit set (SCI = 100) and the seed number (SCI = 0·98) and a low inbreeding depression at all developmental stages (cumulative δ = 0·126) suggest a high selfing ability. Finally, pollen origin had no effect on fruit and seed sets. • Conclusions This andromonoecious species has the potential for a mixed mating system with high dependence on insect-mediated pollination. The selfing rate through geitonogamy should be important.
• Background and Aims A deeper understanding of mutualism can be reached by studying systems with measurable costs and benefits. Most studies of this type focus on an unusual class of obligate, species-specific pollination mutualisms. The interaction between Datura wrightii (Solanaceae) and the hawkmoth Manduca sexta offers similar advantages but greater generality. Adult moths both nectar at and deposit eggs on the same plant; larvae are herbivorous. The antagonistic component of this interaction has been well studied. Here the role of M. sexta as a pollinator of D. wrightii, particularly in the context of this moth's frequent nectaring visits to the bat-pollinated plant Agave palmeri, is documented. • Methods Hand-pollinations were used to determine breeding system and the reproductive consequences of mixed loads of A. palmeri and D. wrightii pollen. Plants and moths were caged overnight to assess whether nectaring visits led to fruit and seed set. Finally, pollen deposited on field-collected stigmas was identified, with a particular focus on documenting the presence of D, wrightii and A. palmeri grains. • Key Results Datura wrightii is highly self-compatible, and a visit that deposits either outcross or self pollen almost doubles fruit and seed set compared with un visited flowers. Manduca sexta transferred enough pollen to produce fruit and seed sets comparable to hand-pollination treatments. Agave palmeri did not interfere with D. wrightii success: in the field, stigmas received almost pure D. wrightii pollen, and hand-addition of large quantities of A. palmeri pollen had no measurable effect on fruit and seed set. • Conclusions The floral visitation component of the D. wrightii-M. sexta interaction is indeed mutualistic. This finding is essential background to future development of this interaction as a model system for studying mutualism's costs and benefits. It is already proving valuable for dissecting third-species effects on the outcome of mutualism. Results indicate that M. sexta's heavy visitation to A. palmeri has no negative effect on the benefits conferred to D. wrightii. However, it can be predicted to augment M. sexta populations to the point where the costs of the interaction begin to exceed its benefits.
• Background and Aims Pollen fates strongly influence mating success in plants but are difficult to quantify. By promoting foraging constancy in pollinators, floral rewards such as nectar may enhance the overall efficiency of pollen transfer. However, this can also lead to high levels of geitonogamy. Pollen fates were studied in Acrolophia cochlearis, a member of a terrestrial epidendroid orchid genus that includes both rewarding and deceptive species. • Methods Pollinator observations were conducted. Pollen transfer efficiency (PTE), the proportion of removed pollinia deposited on stigmas, was measured in a large population at regular intervals throughout the 5-month flowering season. The level of cross-pollination in two populations was estimated from the percentage of seeds with embryos in naturally pollinated fruits. • Key Results Acrolophia cochlearis (and a congener A. micrantha) produce minute but concentrated nectar rewards. Observations showed that A. cochlearis is pollinated exclusively by a solitary bee species, Colletes claripes. Although both sexes visited flowers, only males carried pollinaria. Overall levels of pollination and of the rewarding A. cochlearis were much higher than in a deceptive congener, A. capensis. Seeds resulting from self-fertilization had a significantly lower probability of containing viable embryos than did those from cross-fertilization. This dichotomy in fruit quality was used to estimate that cross-pollination occurred in approx. 66 % of A. cochlearis flowers in a large dense population and approx. 10% in a small sparse population. Traits of A. cochlearis that limit geitonogamy include pollinarium reconfiguration that exceeds the visit time of pollinators and rapid flower senescence following visitation. • Conclusions Presence of a nectar reward in Acrolophia cochlearis results in high levels of PTE. It is estimated that approx. 33-90 % of fruits in natural populations arise from self-pollination in this species.
To study the reproductive biology of Astyanax fasciatus (Cuvier, 1819) in Furnas Reservoir, Minas Gerais, Brazil, a total of 1307 specimens were captured in bimonthly sampling from August 1993 to July 1994. The sex ratio showed a predominance of females, representing 65.2% of the total sample. The stages of gonadal maturation and spawning type were determined through macro- and microscopic analysis of the gonads as well as by variation in the gonadosomatic indices. A. fasciatus showed fractionated spawning and reproduction throughout the year, with spawning peaks influenced by water temperature and rainfall. Males and females initiated gonadal maturation at a mean standard length of 6.4 and 6.5 cm, respectively. During gonadal maturation, females showed a reduction in hepatosomatic index (from 1.06 to 0.83), suggesting that hepatic substances are transferred from the liver to the ovaries. In the reproductive period, A. fasciatus had lower stomach repletion and coelomic fat indices, indicating that this species ate less and consumed more fat reserves when reproduction had the maximum GSI (11.3 for females and 2.7 for males). Weight of the ovaries had a positive influence on the condition factor (K1), as the lowest K2 value (weight without gonads) were obtained during maturation, confirming the influence of the ovaries upon the physiological condition of the females. In weight-length relationship, parameter b was 3.02 for females and 2.23 for males, and the correlation coefficient (r(2)) was 0.84 and 0.66, respectively.
In the present study, an attempt has been made to study the growth, reproduction and life cycle of the earthworm, Mich. in cowdung for the period of 340 days. Results showed that the overall mean growth rate was 1.79, 1.57 and 1.34 mg/worm/day respectively for the worms cultured singly, in batches of four and eight. Cocoon production rate was found between 0.85 and 0.94 cocoons/worm/day and the hatching success between 74.67% and 82.67%. The majority of the cocoons (95.16–96.77%) hatched only one hatchling. Worms raised singly also produced viable cocoons indicating that reproduce parthenogenetically. The life cycle of the worms cultured singly was ±57 days and it was ±50 days for the worms cultured in batches of four and eight. There is a vast scope to utilize for vermiculture practices due to short period of life cycle.