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Sexual reproduction

Analysis and Comment (8)

Trypanosomes in the blood. Trypanosomes in the blood. Wendy Gibson

Caught in the act: microbes do have sex

There is no denying that humans think sex is important, but it also matters for microbes. Sex allows genes from two parents to be mixed, leading to new combinations of genes in the offspring. In the past…
Only a handful of mammals aside from us – primates, some bat species and the elephant shrew – get their period. Only a handful of mammals aside from us – primates, some bat species and the elephant shrew – get their period. Image from shutterstock.com

Explainer: why do women menstruate?

For half the population, it comes three to five days each month, 12 months each year, for 40 years of our lives. Menstruation can be debilitating, relieving, disappointing, or simply an inconvenient fact…
We no longer have to take the view that women’s biology, including their hormone profiles, are unimportant. We no longer have to take the view that women’s biology, including their hormone profiles, are unimportant. Susan/Flickr

PMS is real and denying its existence harms women

A recent opinion piece in the Fairfax papers – based on a Conversation article – discussed “the theory that (PMS) is all in women’s minds as opposed to their endocrinology …” Why is this debate from the…
A female zebra finch finds herself surrounded by male suitors - but who to listen to? A female zebra finch finds herself surrounded by male suitors - but who to listen to? Simon Griffith

Birds and boasting: honest when mating, dishonest when dating

A new study has revealed what many people possibly already suspect – males are more honest when displaying their “quality” to a partner than to an unfamiliar female. These findings, from a study of a socially…
If you’re a female guppy it pays to take many mates … sort of. If you’re a female guppy it pays to take many mates … sort of. André "Drekas" Correia/Flickr

More sex partners means more grandkids … if you’re a guppy

Here’s some good news: having more sexual partners makes females more fertile. A recent study on Trinidadian guppies has shown that females who mate with multiple males produce more grand-offspring than…
Chemical cues may act as matchmakers for sperm and ova. Chemical cues may act as matchmakers for sperm and ova. wellcome images

Ova here, mate: do sperm ‘smell’ their way to the best eggs?

On the face of it, a sperm’s work seems pretty straightforward: locate an egg and fertilise it. Job done. But in the world of a sessile broadcast-spawning marine invertebrate – immobile organisms in which…
This is just asking for trouble. This is just asking for trouble. Wikimedia Commons

Sex and death … not-so-strange bedfellows

Few of us consider that having sex could result in a violent, instantaneous death. But in nature, where sex and violence are often two sides of the same coin, many animals are routinely subjected to such…
Lilting voice? No need to look on the dark side. Lilting voice? No need to look on the dark side. Bisgrafic

Did Darth Vader have a low sperm count?

Few individuals in the Star Wars universe inspired more fear than the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. But beneath the dark exterior, the commander-formerly-known-as-Anakin-Skywalker might have been hiding a dark…

Research Briefs (7)

Sperm employ teamwork for navigation

Sperm can join together into conglomerates to navigate the female reproductive tract, according to researchers from the University…

Gifts key to spider courtship

Male nursery web spiders who give gifts to females are more likely to successfully mate than males who don’t, according to…