1. Cell Biology
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COMP-1 promotes competitive advantage of nematode sperm

  1. Jody M Hansen
  2. Daniela R Chavez
  3. Gillian M Stanfield  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Utah, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 12
  • Views 2,458
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e05423 doi: 10.7554/eLife.05423


Competition among sperm to fertilize oocytes is a ubiquitous feature of sexual reproduction as well as a profoundly important aspect of sexual selection. However, little is known about the cellular mechanisms sperm use to gain competitive advantage or how these mechanisms are regulated genetically. Here, we utilize a forward genetic screen in C. elegans to identify a gene, comp-1, whose function is specifically required in competitive contexts. We show that comp-1 functions in sperm to modulate their migration through and localization within the reproductive tract, thereby promoting their access to oocytes. Contrary to previously-described models, comp-1 mutant sperm show no defects in size or velocity, thereby defining a novel pathway for preferential usage. Our results indicate not only that sperm functional traits can influence the outcome of sperm competition, but also that these traits can be modulated in a context-dependent manner depending on the presence of competing sperm.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jody M Hansen

    Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Daniela R Chavez

    Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Gillian M Stanfield

    Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Oliver Hobert, Columbia University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: October 31, 2014
  2. Accepted: March 16, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 19, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: April 17, 2015 (version 2)


© 2015, Hansen et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Further reading

Further reading

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