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In most (if not all) sexually procreating species the amount of offsprings a male can produce is limited not by the amount of sperm he can produce, but by the amount of eggs his sperm can fertilize (with rare individual exceptions).

Because of that the optimal strategy would be to fertilize eggs with the best sperm.

Therefore it is reasonable to assume that there would be adaptations making sperm with deficient genes less likely to fertilize an egg.

But is there any evidence of this happening? E.g. would fertilizing eggs with less motile sperm (potentially with IVF) produce a less genetically fit offspring or result in a miscarriage?

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The only way that natural selection can act on genes is when they're expressed, there's no mechanism for reading and assessing the "quality" of a gene in a sperm. Obviously the genes that effect the quality of the sperm will be selected for/against.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, it could be that genes which would make a "lower quality" offspring also would make a "lower quality" sperm. How is an interesting question, but genes should be seen as a part of the whole system (genome) rather than indepedent individual entities. $\endgroup$ – rus9384 Nov 27 '20 at 22:03

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