Tagged with Scientific literature

Glucose ramps up sperm speed

Glucose ramps up sperm speed

The sperm of mice and men are streamlined cells, designed to move fast and deliver a payload. To maintain their Phelps-like speed through the long haul to the egg, sperm cells need energy. But even though sperm have all the equipment they need to turn fuel into energy, they don’t carry any fuel with them. … Continue reading

Science says monogamy is good for society

Science says monogamy is good for society

Well, hello again imaginary reader of this blog. I’m ready to dust this site off and finally start adding some new posts, after a long hiatus. Since the last post, I’ve written my doctoral dissertation, and will be defending it in just 2 days! I’ve also gotten engaged, which is why I was so interested … Continue reading

Sex or no sex, that is the question

Sex or no sex, that is the question

There are pros and cons to everything in life, and sex is no exception. From an evolutionary biology standpoint, sex is a compromise (which may explain why so many of our lawmakers seem to be against it). Reproducing asexually means you don’t have to share with anyone else: all your genes get packed into each … Continue reading

Beetle moms benefit from absentee dads

Beetle moms benefit from absentee dads

What’s good for the goose ain’t always good for the gander–until it is. In evolutionary biology-speak, sexual selection happens when one sex benefits from something that harms the other. For example, male seed beetles use their spiky penises to transfer as much sperm as possible during mating, but as you might imagine, those spikes aren’t … Continue reading

Slicing up seminal proteins

Slicing up seminal proteins

While I don’t doubt that you have all been eagerly awaiting an update to my ‘Publications’ page, some of you may not have noticed that it has finally arrived. After only about 5 and half years in graduate school, I finally have my very own first-author research article. Why did it take so long? Believe … Continue reading

Use it or lose it

Use it or lose it

Female frogs (Xenopus laevis) release their eggs out into the water, where they wait for some lucky sperm to come along and fertilize them. But they don’t wait very long. Frog eggs are ticking time bombs that self-destruct after only a few hours if not fertilized. Previously, how this happened was a mystery. Now, new … Continue reading

Get in my spermathecae!

Get in my spermathecae!

You may notice that this paper has been out for a while already, even though I really should have been excited to blog about it right away, given its importance for my field of study. But, lately, research has kept me too busy to actually sit down and write a decent post about it. So, … Continue reading

Wolbachia gives eggs a boost

Wolbachia gives eggs a boost

Wolbachia are a type of bacteria that live inside the cells of many animals, but mostly insects. They are passed on from mother to child through the mother’s eggs. They can often be bad for the insect host: they might kill all male offspring, destroy the host’s gonads, or make it harder for the host … Continue reading

Diatom sperm go fishing for eggs

Diatom sperm go fishing for eggs

Did you know that diatoms have sex? I didn’t. You know diatoms, those microscopic, silicon-encased, sorta algae things that live in the ocean…and basically anywhere else there’s water. They’re single-celled organisms that hang out at the bottom of the food chain and their dead, decomposed bodies (called diatomaceous earth) are used by humans for many … Continue reading

My, what a big claw you have

My, what a big claw you have

Male fiddler crabs wave their giant claws to get the attention of females. Females prefer males that wave a lot, in line with a common theme in female choice: making the male work for it. Waving that big thing around is more than just an advertisement. The thing is heavy to lift, so the male … Continue reading

Chivalry is not dead, at least among crickets

Chivalry is not dead, at least among crickets

Males of many species “guard” females after they’ve mated, presumably to prevent them from mating with other males. But in the cricket Gryllus campestris, males have a more noble intent when they guard their mate: to save her from being eaten. Researchers Rolando Rodriguez-Muñoz, Amanda Bretman, and Tom Tregenza in England observed crickets in their … Continue reading

Older worms have more sex appeal

Older worms have more sex appeal

C. elegans are tiny worms that exist as hermaphrodites or rare males. A male rubs against a hermaphrodite with the mating apparatus on his tails and if he thinks she’s sexy enough, he’ll try to mate with her. And what turns on a male worm? Answer: an older lady. No one knows what the male … Continue reading

Patience is a virtue for invading wasp females

Patience is a virtue for invading wasp females

In social insects, like honey bees, the queen is usually the only one making babies. All other females are subordinate and sterile.The reason natural selection doesn’t weed out this behavior is thought to be because all the subordinate females are nearly genetically identical to the queen. In other words, as long as the queen is … Continue reading