The latest about sex from those ever-busy sex scientists, who think about sex all day just so you don’t have to, even though maybe you do: Mice develop better, more agile sperm that “get the job done” faster and better, in just a dozen generations of polygamous living.
We’re not going to quibble, at least for now, about whether these are polygamous mice or polyamorous mice or cheating mice or sex-addicted mice. We’re going to just go with the scientists’ version.
University of Western Australia researchers Renée Firman and Leigh Simmons theorize that the sperm of mice that were raised in the polygamous environment had to compete. Over time, through generations, the best sperm wins. Monogamous mice? In a nutshell, no competition means sperm doesn’t change much or evolve. Theories of sperm selection and competition that were initially proposed in the 1970s and ’80s have been increasingly borne out by research since then.
“Most females in nature do not mate monogamously, and since they will usually mate with many males, it opens an ability to manipulate the parentage,” Heidi Fisher of Harvard University told LiveScience. “This manipulation can happen in many ways, including changes to sperm seen in this new study, which "showed that those differences actually translate into different reproductive successes.”
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