Introduction

The principal roles of the male in reproduction are the production, maturation, and delivery of sperm for fertilization. Spermatogenesis the proliferation and differentiation of germ cells within the testes to form haploid, free-swimming sperm is a remarkable biological process. Once initiated at puberty, spermatogenesis proceeds throughout adult life with billions of sperm produced daily by sexually mature farm animals. Spermatogonial stem cells ensure continuity of the process when environmental factors such as high temperature disrupt testis function. Furthermore, sper-matogenesis includes meiotic divisions, during which chromosome number is reduced from diploid to haploid and portions of homologous chromosomes are exchanged, producing genetically unique sperm. Following meiosis, dramatic morphological changes occur as the sperm forms, including addition of a flagellum that contributes to sperm transport and encounter with the egg. From the testis, sperm are transported through a system of excurrent ducts and, at the time of ejaculation, combined with seminal fluid to form semen. This overview will provide a glimpse of the intricate process of spermatogenesis, sperm transport, and semen characteristics that are essential aspects of male fertility.

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