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Analysis and Comment (18)

Three person IVF will prevent mitochondrial disease. Three person IVF will prevent mitochondrial disease. Sukharevskyy Dmytro/Shutterstock

The ethics of three-person IVF

The UK parliament will soon consider making Britain the first country to allow three person IVF. The regulations are yet to be approved, but the government is currently backing moves to allow the creation…
Male orb-web spiders are dwarfed by their female counterparts, but they can maximise success if they don’t mate indiscriminately. Male orb-web spiders are dwarfed by their female counterparts, but they can maximise success if they don’t mate indiscriminately. Brian Gratwicke/Flickr

Tiny male spiders can get a leg over – as long as they’re picky

Males will mate with anything. Well, that is the general view, one that exists because of a simple biological underpinning: females are reproductively limited by costly gestation, while males are only…
Debate continues over how dinosaurs did the deed. Debate continues over how dinosaurs did the deed. Miroslav Petrasko (blog.hdrshooter.net)

Big bang theory: how did dinosaurs have sex?

Dinosaurs were the largest animals to ever walk Earth, and they ruled the planet for more than 160 million years. The long-necked Argentinosaurus, with back vertebrae almost two metres high, possibly grew…
New research suggests that seeds could now be formed without the biological process of fertilisation. New research suggests that seeds could now be formed without the biological process of fertilisation. CIMMYT

Seeds without sex – some racy findings on the cloning of plants

Sex without seed. Seed without sex. It’s been said that the greatest gift of science to humankind would be achieving those two goals. Effective contraceptives such as the pill have pretty much nailed the…
Researchers applied sunblock to the plumage of female blue tits to see how males reacted. Researchers applied sunblock to the plumage of female blue tits to see how males reacted. Marko_K

Blue beauty: why male tits work harder for attractive partners

Rearing young is a costly business that often affects an individual’s own future survival or reproduction prospects. And so it makes sense for individuals to find ways to ensure the energy they spend on…
Humans and spider monkeys are the only primate species without a penis bone. Humans and spider monkeys are the only primate species without a penis bone. Chris Makarsky

The human penis is a puzzler, no bones about it

The penis. It comes in so many different shapes and sizes … and that’s just in humans. As you would imagine, different species have very different penises. The males in most mammal species, including cats…
Researchers say women may be able to prolong their fertility in future by having an ovarian tissue transplant. Researchers say women may be able to prolong their fertility in future by having an ovarian tissue transplant. bronx

Slowing the biological clock won’t solve family planning dilemmas

In future, women could remain fertile for longer by undergoing an ovarian tissue transplant, according to paper published this week by American and Danish researchers. The Reproductive Biomedicine paper…
Nanas may contribute more than just hugs and kisses. Nanas may contribute more than just hugs and kisses. John McNab

What’s the link between caring grandmas and breast cancer?

A recent study shows that mutations in the “breast cancer genes” BRCA1 and BRCA2 – which increase the risks of breast and ovarian cancers among others – also increase fertility. This is an extraordinary…
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…
Women will be the key to dealing with the growth in population. Women will be the key to dealing with the growth in population. Flickr/PhotograTree

Seven billion reasons to be a feminist

SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE: I had better write fast. Sometime between my deadline to submit this story and the time it goes live, the estimated world population will exceed 7 billion for the first time ever…
Rejoice, men: you may not need to hold your clock in dismay. Rejoice, men: you may not need to hold your clock in dismay. purplemattfish

Time trial: is premature ejaculation really a medical condition?

If you’re in a room with 20 random blokes, it’s likely six or seven of them are worried about and unsatisfied with their ability to control their ejaculation during partnered sex. In other words, these…
Guess what? It’s not so much size but the shape that matters. Guess what? It’s not so much size but the shape that matters. Ozchin

Seen one seen them all? More to genitalia than meets the eye

Why should male genitalia be so variable? This problem has puzzled evolutionary biologists for decades. Even to the experts, it can be difficult to tell closely-related species apart just by looking at…
Men’s testosterone decline isn’t quite the same as menopause. Men’s testosterone decline isn’t quite the same as menopause. Andres Thor

Monday’s medical myth: men also go through menopause

Feeling tired and grumpy? Maybe a litte emotional? If you’re a middle-aged male, these symptoms might be hormone-related, but no, you’re not going through man opause. It’s true that signs of men’s low…
A guy walks into a cafe … but what happens next depends on strategy. A guy walks into a cafe … but what happens next depends on strategy. nathancolquhoun/Flickr

All about the girl: the mating game and how (not) to win it

Long before men asked themselves “What’s the meaning of life?”, they were scratching their heads and wondering “How do I get the girl?” And it’s not just humans who have been consumed with this question…
The hairy-nosed wombat is just one of the species at Australia’s “frozen zoo”. The hairy-nosed wombat is just one of the species at Australia’s “frozen zoo”. Fleshpiston/Flickr

Australia’s “frozen zoo” and the risk of extinction

Let’s be clear: the world’s animal resources are rapidly declining. Globally, more than 5,000 wildlife species are threatened with extinction. Some 25% are mammals, and 11% birds. Of the reptile, amphibian…
kissing. kissing. Fernando Meyer/Flickr

Sex: why do we bother?

As a society, we seem to be obsessed by sex. So wondering out loud why we have it is likely to invite a highly bemused response. And yet sex remains one of the great, enduring mysteries of evolutionary…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (20)

Light pollution upsets breeding lemurs

Light pollution disrupts the natural reproductive cycle of lemurs a new study has found. Male lemurs are sexually inactive…

Piercing genitals: good for species diversity

Two species of Tahitian plant insects, known for their traumatic insemination mating system, may be responsible for today’s…

The speedy bird catches the girl

While the early bird might catch the worm, it’s the quick bird that gets the ladies. That’s the case for rock ptarmigans…

Sparrows spar by sharing songs

Far from being a harmonious sing-a-long, song-sharing among sparrow populations is actually an aggressive behaviour, akin…

Males die early for female attention

Male houbura bustards that are particularly exuberant in their attempts to attract female attention have been found to die…

How to clone a clam

Individuals from a group of freshwater clam species are believed to produce genetic clones of themselves during reproduction…