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Plants spice up their sex life with defensins
Since the beginning, plants and animals have deployed various mechanisms to fight pathogens. Proteins have always played an important part in this armoury, and a broad variety of defensin proteins have become part of the immune system of plants, insects and other animals except mammals. Now scientists from Regensburg discovered that those proteins also play a role in the (2010-06-01)

Jumping genes provide extensive 'raw material' for evolution, Penn study finds
Using high-throughput sequencing to map the locations of a common type of jumping gene within a person's entire genome, researchers found extensive variation in these locations among the individuals they studied, further underscoring the role of these errant genes in maintaining genetic diversity. The investigators determined that any two peoples' genomes differ at roughly 285 sites out of the 1,139 sites studied. (2010-06-01)

Yale researchers develop test to identify 'best' sperm
Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have discovered a method to select sperm with the highest DNA integrity in a bid to improve male fertility. The method is comparable to that of the egg's natural selection abilities, according to the study published in the June/July issue of the Journal of Andrology. (2010-05-28)

UT Southwestern researchers use novel sperm stem-cell technique to produce genetically modified rats
For two decades, the laboratory mouse has been the workhorse of biomedical studies and the only mammal whose genes scientists could effectively and reliably manipulate to study human diseases and conditions. (2010-05-27)

UNC researchers receive $100,000 Grand Challenges Exploration Grant to develop male contraceptive
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The grant will support an innovative global health research project conducted by James Tsuruta, Ph.D., and Paul Dayton, Ph.D., titled (2010-05-10)

On birth control pill's 50th anniversary, LA BioMed announces grant to study male contraceptive
As the birth control pill marks its 50th birthday this month, LA BioMed announced today that it has received $1.5 million in grant funding to study a male contraceptive. (2010-05-03)

New requirements for male fertility
Two independent groups of researchers have identified distinct roles for two proteins in a family of proteins known as PLA2s as crucial for sperm function and fertility in mice. These data identify proteins that could underlie causes of human infertility and provide potential targets for the development of new contraceptive agents and new approaches to treating infertility. (2010-04-26)

Rainfall linked to skewed sex ratios
An increased proportion of male African buffalo are born during the rainy season. Researchers writing in the open-access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology collected data from over 200 calves and 3,000 fetuses, finding that rain likely exerts this effect by interaction with so-called sex ratio genes, which cause differences in number, quality or function of X- and Y-bearing sperm. (2010-04-22)

Getting the bead on conception
A scientifically based tool developed by Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health to help women prevent pregnancy, is now being used by a growing number of women to help plan pregnancy. Given large number of women who fail to get pregnant because they are mistaken about when they are likely to conceive, it is important that health-care community let women know about the importance of tracking their fertility and the availability of easy-to-use, low cost, tool to help them do so. (2010-04-15)

Shelve routine use of costly silver wound dressings, says DTB
Urologists are failing to pick up and treat Chlamydia infection in young men, say UK researchers in a letter published ahead of print in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections. (2010-04-14)

U of I study: Lack of omega-3 fatty acid linked to male infertility
According to a University of Illinois study, omega-3 fatty acids may be good for more than heart health. A little-known omega-3 may have implications for treating male infertility. (2010-04-12)

Doctors report alarming increase in mumps-related testicle problems among young males
Urologists at a leading Irish hospital have reported an alarming increase in the number of teenage boys and young men developing mumps orchitis. They are urging colleagues to offer the MMR vaccine to unvaccinated males in the 15-24 age group and educate them about the condition, which causes one or both testicles to swell and can lead to fertility problems. (2010-03-30)

Fertility industry offers big money to recruit 'desirable' egg donors at top universities
Many egg donation agencies and private couples routinely exceed compensation recommendation limits for potential donors, a new study finds. From a sample of over 300 college newspapers, findings reveal that almost one-quarter of advertisements offered payment in excess of $10,000, a violation of guidelines issued by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Compensation strongly correlated with average SAT score of the university's students, according to the study published in the Hastings Center Report (2010-03-24)

Pulling power points the way to the world's strongest insect
Following months of grueling tests and trials, scientists now reveal the world's strongest insect to be a species of dung beetle called Onthophagus taurus. (2010-03-23)

Sea creatures' sex protein provides new insight into diabetes
A genetic accident in the sea more than 500 million years ago has provided new insight into diabetes. Professor Maurice Elphick says his findings could help to explain a rare form of the disease that causes sufferers to urinate more than three liters every day. (2010-03-22)

SU biologists' work with 'glow-in-the-dark' sperm sheds light on sexual selection
By genetically altering fruit flies so that the heads of their sperm were fluorescent green or red, Belote and his colleagues were able to observe in striking detail what happens to live sperm inside the female. The findings may have huge implications for the fields of reproductive biology, sexual selection and speciation. (2010-03-18)

Females shut down male-male sperm competition in leafcutter ants
Danish researchers who have studied ants at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama since 1992 discovered that in both ant and bee species in which queens have multiple mates, a male's seminal fluid favors the survival of its own sperm over the other males' sperm. However, once sperm has been stored, leafcutter ant queens neutralize male-male sperm competition with glandular secretions in their sperm-storage organ. (2010-03-18)

CSHL-Mexican team coaxes sexually reproducing plant to brink of asexual reproduction
In a paper to appear online in Nature February 7, plant geneticists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico report moving a step closer to the goal of turning plants that normally reproduce sexually into asexual reproducers, an outcome that would have profound implications for agriculture globally. (2010-03-07)

Lizard moms choose the right genes for the right gender offspring
Brown anole lizards make an interesting choice when deciding which males should father their offspring. The females of this species mate with several males, then produce more sons with sperm from large fathers, and more daughters with sperm from smaller fathers. The researchers believe that the lizards do this to ensure that the genes from large fathers are passed on to sons, who stand to benefit from inheriting the genes for large size. (2010-03-04)

MMS and NOAA scientists study prey of Gulf of Mexico sperm whales
Minerals Management Service and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service biologists have set sail to learn more about the prey of sperm whales in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The first of the research cruise's three legs was completed on Feb. 10, 2010, and the second is underway. The first and second legs of the cruise departed from the NOAA Fisheries Service's Southeast Fisheries Science Center laboratory in Pascagoula, Miss. (2010-03-02)

Does promiscuity prevent extinction?
Promiscuous females may be the key to a species' survival, according to new research by UK scientists. The study could solve the mystery of why females of most species have multiple mates, despite this being more risky for the individual. (2010-02-25)

Risk of stillbirth is four times higher after IVF/ICSI compared to spontaneous pregnancies
Women who become pregnant with a single fetus after in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) have an increased risk of a stillbirth, according to new research out on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The study of over 20,000 singleton pregnancies, published in Human Reproduction journal, found a four-fold increased risk of stillbirths for women who had IVF/ICSI compared with women who conceived spontaneously or after fertility treatment that did not involve IVF or ICSI. (2010-02-23)

NIH stem cell guidelines should be modified, UCSF team reports
A UCSF team, led by bioethicist Bernard Lo, M.D., recommends that the National Institutes of Health ethics guidelines for embryonic stem cell research be modified to better protect the rights of individuals donating egg or sperm to patients undergoing in vitro fertilization. (2010-02-18)

How sperm get a move on; discovery suggests new target for male contraception
Most of us probably think of sperm as rather active little cells, swimming with quick movements of their (2010-02-04)

UCSF researchers identify regulator of human sperm cells
UCSF researchers have identified an elusive molecular regulator that controls the ability of human sperm to reach and fertilize the egg, a finding that has implications on both treating male infertility and preventing pregnancy. (2010-02-04)

Study of shark virgin birth shows offspring can survive long term
Shark pups born to virgin mothers can survive over the long-term, according to new research published Jan. 25 in the Journal of Heredity. The study shows for the first time that some virgin births can result in viable offspring. (2010-01-25)

Some mouse sperm can identify, and even cooperate with, its brethren
Some mouse sperm can discriminate between its brethren and competing sperm from other males, clustering with its closest relatives to swim faster in the race to the egg. But this sort of cooperation appears to be present only in certain promiscuous species, where it affords an individual's sperm a competitive advantage over that of other males. (2010-01-20)

Sequencing wasp genome sheds new light on sexual parasite
Sequencing the complete genomes of three species of wasp provides new insights into the methods that the bacterial parasite Wolbachia uses to manipulate the sex lives of its hosts. (2010-01-14)

Chimp and human Y chromosomes evolving faster than expected
The first comprehensive comparison of Y chromosomes from two species sheds new light on Y chromosome evolution. Contrary to a widely held scientific theory that the mammalian Y chromosome is slowly decaying or stagnating, new evidence suggests that in fact the Y is actually reinventing itself through continuous, wholesale renovation. (2010-01-13)

UF urologists use robot to shave time off vasectomy reversal
In a comparison of robot-assisted vasectomy reversal and the microscope procedure that is widely used, scientists found robot-assisted surgery could reduce average surgery time by about 20 minutes. Despite the study's small sample size -- 27 patients -- physicians say it is promising, and requires more evaluation and longer follow-up of patients to yield more widely applicable results. (2010-01-07)

Study identifies a protein complex possibly crucial for triggering embryo development
Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have discovered a protein complex that appears to play a significant role in erasing epigenetic instructions on sperm DNA, essentially creating a blank slate for the different cell types of a new embryo to develop. (2010-01-06)

Meddling in mosquitoes' sex lives could help stop the spread of malaria, says study
Stopping male mosquitoes from sealing their sperm inside females with a 'mating plug' could prevent mosquitoes from reproducing, and offer a potential new way to combat malaria, say scientists publishing new results in PLoS Biology on Dec. 22. (2009-12-21)

Hope for men with nonobstructive infertility
It has been thought that men with nonobstructive azoospermia (NOA), a lack of sperm in the semen not caused by an obstruction within the reproductive system, are poor candidates for in vitro fertilization. Now, researchers writing in the open access journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology have shown that sperm from men with NOA and obstructive azoospermia are equally capable of producing embryos. (2009-12-02)

Why females live longer than males: is it due to the father's sperm?
Researchers in Japan have found that female mice produced by using genetic material from two mothers but no father live significantly longer than mice with the normal mix of maternal and paternal genes. Their findings, published in Human Reproduction journal on Wednesday, Dec. 2, provide the first evidence that sperm genes may have a detrimental effect on lifespan in mammals. (2009-12-01)

'The pill' for him: Scientists find a hormonal on-and-off switch for male fertility
A new research report published in the December 2009 print issue of the FASEB Journal describes how scientists found how and where androgenic hormones work in the testis to control normal sperm production and male fertility. This opens a promising avenue for the development of (2009-11-30)

Opposites attract: Monkeys choose mating partners with different genes
The world's largest species of monkey (2009-11-24)

Focus on male infertility at international event at Queen's
Male infertility and tackling falling birth rates across Europe will be among the topics addressed at this year's British Andrology Society's annual conference at Queen's University in Belfast. World leaders in the field of andrology -- the study of male reproduction -- will meet at Queen's this week to discuss the latest developments in the field of fertility including the potential to create artificial sperm from stem cells. (2009-11-18)

Investigating muscle repair, scientists follow their noses
Inside the nose, odorant receptors bind and respond to substances wafting through the air. Unexpectedly, one particular odorant receptor gene, MOR23, is also important for the process of muscle repair. The finding could lead to new ways to treat muscular dystrophies and suggests that odorant receptors may have additional unexpected functions. (2009-11-16)

For young boys with cancer, testicular tissue banking may be option to preserve fertility
Boys diagnosed with cancer before reaching puberty have a unique option for possibly preserving future fertility, which is often endangered by cancer therapies. In an experimental procedure, the boys can have a tiny portion of their testis removed and frozen for their potential future use. Parents of prepubertal boys are willing to agree to the procedure and are grateful for the opportunity, even though there is currently no guarantee of clinical success. (2009-11-09)

Calm before the spawn: Climate change and coral spawning
Robert van Woesik, a biologist at the Florida Institute of Technology, explains why corals spawn for just a few nights in some places but elsewhere string out their love life over many months. The study shows that corals spawn when regional wind fields are light. When it is calm, the eggs and sperm have the chance to unite before they are dispersed. (2009-11-04)

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