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Keywords:

  • Cryptic female choice;
  • direct benefits;
  • sexual selection;
  • sperm age;
  • sperm;
  • spermatozoa

Thermodynamic and oxidative damage to the condensed nuclear DNA of spermatozoa may result in age-related deterioration that results in zygote death. By definition, any such spermatozoan-age effects are direct (i.e. nonheritable) and, if they occur, females may be selected to avoid such costs. This paper examines the potential of spermatozoan-age effects to provide alternative explanations for several reproductive phenomena.