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: Scientists target mess from Christmas tree needles

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sex, genes, the Y chromosome and the future of men

Nov 14, 2014

The Y chromosome, that little chain of genes that determines the sex of humans, is not as tough as you might think. In fact, if we look at the Y chromosome over the course of our evolution we've seen it shrink ...

Recommended for you

Scientists target mess from Christmas tree needles

12 hours ago

The presents are unwrapped. The children's shrieks of delight are just a memory. Now it's time for another Yuletide tradition: cleaning up the needles that are falling off your Christmas tree.

Top Japan lab dismisses ground-breaking stem cell study

20 hours ago

Japan's top research institute on Friday hammered the final nail in the coffin of what was once billed as a ground-breaking stem cell study, dismissing it as flawed and saying the work could have been fabricated.

Research sheds light on what causes cells to divide

Dec 24, 2014

When a rapidly-growing cell divides into two smaller cells, what triggers the split? Is it the size the growing cell eventually reaches? Or is the real trigger the time period over which the cell keeps growing ...

Locking mechanism found for 'scissors' that cut DNA

Dec 24, 2014

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered what keeps an enzyme from becoming overzealous in its clipping of DNA. Since controlled clipping is required for the production of specialized immune system proteins, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.