DNA fingerprinting to determine paternity in laboratory rat sperm competition experiments

Glenn A. Shimmin, George Sofronidis, Don K. Bowden, Peter D. Temple‐Smith

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Prior to this study a significant amount of research had been undertaken in the field of sperm competition in mammals. However, males of different strains have been required in each of these studies to enable paternity assignment through gene expression, which has consequently resulted in problems with differential fertilising capacity being encountered. In this study paternity assignment of progeny from sperm competition experiments with Sprague Dawley rats was achieved by multilocus DNA fingerprinting using band locus matching of individual specific banding patterns between progeny and parents. Trials with 4 restriction enzymes and 5 digoxygenin labelled probes (4 oligonucleotide and 1 cloned) achieved the highest levels of DNA fingerprint heterozygosity using AluI(CAC)5 and HinfI(CAC)5 combinations; however, paternity could not be determined in all offspring, due to a higher than expected degree of inbreeding within the rat population used in this study. This was demonstrated in subsequent comparisons of genetic diversity of three laboratory rat breeding populations from two different animal breeding facilities. Data from the rat mating study showed that, under conditions of direct sperm competition, second males given access to a mated oestrus female either 0.5 or 6.0 h after the first mating consistently required less time than the first to ejaculate: 7.6 min vs. 19.5 min (0.5 h delay); 7.8 min vs. 19.5 min (6.0 h delay). A second male siring advantage was identified using DNA fingerprinting in both delay groups for those offspring on which paternity could be determined: 0.5 h delay, 1st = 39%, 2nd = 61%; 6 h delay, 1st = 34%, 2nd = 66%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1627-1632
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • DNA fingerprinting
  • Inbreeding
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Paternity
  • Sperm competition

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