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The assessment of sperm DNA fragmentation in the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus)

Johnston, S. D., López-Fernández, C., Arroyo, F., Fernández, J. L., Gosálvez, J.
Reproduction, fertility, and development 2017 v.29 no.3 pp. 630-636
Crocodylus porosus, DNA, DNA damage, DNA fragmentation, chromatin, comet assay, crocodiles, freeze-thaw cycles, longevity, nucleotides, protein depletion, reducing agents, spermatozoa, thawing, Spain
Herein we report a method of assessing DNA fragmentation in the saltwater crocodile using the sperm chromatin dispersion test (SCDt) after including frozen–thawed spermatozoa in a microgel (Halomax; Halotech DNA, Madrid, Spain). Following controlled protein depletion, which included a reducing agent, sperm nuclei with fragmented DNA showed a homogeneous and larger halo of chromatin dispersion with a corresponding reduced nucleoid core compared with sperm with non-fragmented DNA. The presence of DNA damage was confirmed directly by incorporation of modified nucleotides using in situ nick translation (ISNT) and indirectly by studying the correlation of the SCDt with the results of DNA damage visualisation using a two-tailed comet assay (r=0.90; P=0.037). Results of the SCDt immediately following thawing and after 5h incubation at 37°C in order to induce a range of DNA damage revealed individual crocodile differences in both the baseline level of DNA damage and DNA longevity.