Circadian System Controlling Release of Sperm in the Insect Testes

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Sep 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4922, pp. 1098-1100
DOI: 10.1126/science.245.4922.1098


Release of mature sperm from the testis into seminal ducts of the gypsy moth exhibits a circadian rhythm. The rhythm of sperm release was shown to persist in vitro, in isolated complexes of testis and seminal ducts cultured in light-dark cycles or in constant darkness. The phase of the rhythm was also reset in vitro by exposure to shifted light-dark cycles. Therefore, the testis—seminal ducts complex from the gypsy moth is photosensitive and contains a circadian pacemaker, which controls the rhythm of sperm movement. This finding extends the range of structures in multicellular organisms that are known to contain circadian oscillators and provides a new model system in which circadian mechanisms may be studied.

Stay Connected to Science