Genetic control of gamete quality in the mouse - a tribute to Halina Krzanowska
Published: 14 February 2008
Department of Genetics and Evolution, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
In this article, we summarise the principal research findings of the distinguished Polish scientist, Professor Halina Krzanowska, related to the genetic control of mammalian gamete quality. During the early stages of her career, Halina Krzanowska conducted experiments on poultry and then she moved on to work on mice. All her research on gamete quality was conducted on the research models, consomic, congenic and recombinant inbred strains, which Krzanowska developed herself. These models differed mostly in their fertility. Krzanowska was one of the first researchers to demonstrate the influence of chromosome Y on the morphology of mice spermatozoa. She also showed that the uterotubal junction is in vivo a selection barrier for the morphologically abnormal spermatozoa, whereas in vitro abnormal spermatozoa are able to participate in fertilization, the function of selective barrier being performed by the granulosa cell layer and the zona pellucida. Another model which Krzanowska produced were chimaeras, which she used to find out if the percentage of abnormal spermatozoa and the efficiency of fertilization are determined by germ cells themselves or by environmental factors and she discovered that sperm head shape, the proportion of abnormal sperm and fertilizing capacity are determined mainly by the genotype of germ cells and only minimally by environmental factors.