Reproductive life of male mice is increased by living with females

Jan 22, 2009

Living with a female of its species can extend the reproductive life of a male mouse by a dramatic 20 percent, according to a study reported at the online site of the journal Biology of Reproduction.

In the research, conducted by a team at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, male mice were housed with or without female mice for 16 to 32 months. Each male was placed with two novel females at 2-month intervals to test its ability to impregnate the females.

The team, headed by Dr. Ralph Brinster, found that males housed with females did not show a drop in fertility until 32 months of age - a 6-month increase in fertility over males housed alone.

The study also concluded that once fertility began to decrease, the rate of decrease was the same for both groups of males. The decline in fertility appeared to be due in part to defects in the sperm production process.

The researchers postulate that a female housed with a male mouse delays reproductive aging by affecting the cells surrounding the stem cells that produce spermatozoa in the testes.

The effect on the environment of the sprematogonial stem cells likely occurs through the male's endocrine and nervous systems, the scientists theorize.

"Whether this female influence occurs in other species is not known," Dr. Brinster notes.

If the effect is found to extend to other species, however, the authors point out that a 20 percent increase in male fertility could mean an extension of the male reproductive life span of years for various livestock animals and even decades for some large endangered species.

Source: Society for the Study of Reproduction

Explore further: Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Environmental hormones – tiny amounts, big effects

Apr 02, 2014

Empty nets and few species – environmental hormones are believed responsible for the diminishing numbers of fish. How damaging are these substances really, though? Studies that depict a complete picture ...

Large testicles are linked to infidelity

Jan 29, 2014

There is a clear correlation between the size of the testicles of male primates and the proneness to infidelity of females. Learn more about sex, sperm and infidelity at the anniversary exhibition Sexus.

The fastest sperm may not be best

Aug 14, 2013

For sea squirts the key to a long and happy life is to be fertilized not by a fast sperm, but by one that stands the test of time, Dr Angela Crean, from the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at the University ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

15 hours ago

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

18 hours ago

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.