Tag Archives: Reproduction

Scientists find protein that unites cell and egg

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Scientists have identified a long-sought fertility protein that allows sperm to dock to the surface of an egg. The finding, an important step in understanding the process that enables conception, could eventually spawn new forms of birth control and treatments for infertility.  “It’s very important, because we now know two of the proteins that are […]

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Deer proliferation disrupts a forest’s natural growth

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Deer typically prefer to eat native, woody plants and rebuff invasive species. The study showed that when deer consume native plants, the non-native species are left to flourish, dropping seed in the soil. By literally looking below the surface and digging up the dirt, Cornell researchers have discovered that a burgeoning deer population forever alters […]

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Teen elephant mothers die younger but have bigger families

Asian elephants that give birth as teenagers die younger than older mothers but raise bigger families during their lifetime, according to new research from the University of Sheffield. Experts from the University’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences studied the reproductive lives of 416 Asian elephant mothers in Myanmar, Burma, and found those that had […]

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Male scent stimulates female goats’ fertility

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The distinctive aroma of goats does more than just make barnyards extra fragrant. Male goats can use their heady scent to make female goats ovulate simply by being near them. Researchers had ascribed this ‘male effect’ to chemicals known as primer pheromones — a chemical signal that can cause long-lasting physiological responses in the recipient. […]

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Contraception program effectively manages bison population

The wild bison roaming Catalina Island are a major attraction for the nearly 1 million tourists who visit the Channel Island’s most popular destination every year. But managing the number of bison so that the herd remains healthy and doesn’t endanger the health of the rest of the Island has been a major challenge for […]

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Birth control at the zoo: Vets meet the elusive goal of hippo castration

One method for controlling zoo animal populations is male castration. For hippopotami, however, this is notoriously difficult, as the pertinent male reproductive anatomy proves singularly elusive. Veterinarians from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, and colleagues, have demonstrated a successful method for castrating male hippos. Their results are […]

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Mice with just two ‘male’ genes father babies

Assisted-reproduction technique helps mice with two genes from Y chromosome make healthy offspring. In a technique called round spermatid injection, immature sperm cells are used to fertilize an egg. Researchers have used the method to produce live offspring fathered by mice that lack a full Y chromosome. Researchers have shown that just two genes from […]

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Competition drives marsupial males to suicidal sex

Male marsupial mice just don’t know when to stop. For Antechinus stuartii, their debut breeding season is so frenetic and stressful that they drop dead at the end of it from exhaustion or disease. It may be the females of the species that are driving this self-destructive behaviour. Suicidal breeding, known as semelparity, is seen […]

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Healthy baby born after ovarian tissue removed, stimulated and reinserted

Kazuhiro Kawamura, who was part of a team that tried a new fertility treatment, holding a boy born from a previously infertile woman. A previously infertile woman has given birth to a healthy baby after undergoing a procedure that involved removing her ovaries and stimulating them in the lab to produce eggs. The fertility treatment, […]

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Caribou may be indirectly affected by sea-ice loss in the Arctic

Melting sea ice in the Arctic may be leading, indirectly, to fewer caribou calf births and higher calf mortality in Greenland, according to scientists at Penn State University. Eric Post, a Penn State University professor of biology, and Jeffrey Kerby, a Penn State graduate student, have linked the melting of Arctic sea ice with changes […]

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Promiscuity and sperm selection improves genetic quality in birds

New research from the University of East Anglia has shown that females can maximise the genetic quality of their offspring by being promiscuous. Researchers studied red junglefowl (the wild ancestor of the domestic chicken) in a collaborative project with the University of Oxford, Stockholm University and Linköping University. Findings published today in the journal Proceedings […]

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The more the merrier: Promiscuity in mice is a matter of free choice

We know from earlier studies that mice can derive genetic benefits when females mate with multiple males, but until recently, the conditions under which females will voluntarily mate with multiple males were not clear. Kerstin Thonhauser and her colleagues from the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology of the Vetmeduni Vienna conducted a series of experiments […]

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How ‘teamwork’ between egg and sperm works: Little-known protein identified in vertebrate fertilization process

Researchers from Heidelberg have decoded a previously unknown molecular mechanism in the fertilisation process of vertebrates. The team of scientists at the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University identified a specific protein in frog egg extracts that the male basal bodies need, but that is produced only by the reproductive cells of the female. […]

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Pregnancy in horses: Helping horses come to term

It is not only humans that sometimes experience difficulty having children. Horses too have a low birth rate, with many pregnancies failing within the first few weeks after conception. The reason is currently unknown but recent research by the team of Christine Aurich at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni) suggests that a particular […]

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The underground adventures of the Mediterranean frog Rana iberica

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Do frogs live underground? The answer is yes, some amphibians, such as salamanders and frogs have been often reported to dwell in subterranean habitats, some of them completely adjusted to the life in darkness, and others just spending a phase of their lifecycle in an underground shelter. Up until 2010, however, no one suspected that […]

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Scientists produce cloned embryos of extinct frog

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The genome of an extinct Australian frog has been revived and reactivated by a team of scientists using sophisticated cloning technology to implant a “dead” cell nucleus into a fresh egg from another frog species. The bizarre gastric-brooding frog, Rheobatrachus silus — which uniquely swallowed its eggs, brooded its young in its stomach and gave […]

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City birds that experience light at night are ready to breed earlier than their rural cousins

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Street lamps, traffic lights and lighting from homes are causing a rise in our night-time light levels. For some time now, scientists have suspected that artificial light in our towns and cities at night could affect plants, animals and us, humans, too. Studies, however, that have tested this influence directly are few. Scientists from the […]

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World’s oldest-known wild bird hatches another chick

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A Laysan albatross known as “Wisdom” — believed to be at least 62 years old — has hatched a chick on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge for the sixth consecutive year. During the morning hours on Sunday, Feb. 3, the chick was observed pipping its way into the world by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service […]

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Owl monkeys who ‘stay true’ reproduce more than those with multiple partners

Breaking up is hard to do — and can be detrimental to one’s reproductive fitness, according to a new University of Pennsylvania study. Focusing on wide-eyed, nocturnal owl monkeys, considered a socially monogamous species, the research reveals that, when an owl monkey pair is severed by an intruding individual, the mate who takes up with […]

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First road map of human sex-cell development

The causes of infertility, which affects around 10% of couples, are often unknown, but may in some cases result from the body’s inability to produce viable gametes — also known as sperm and egg cells. A new study of the development of these ‘germ cells’ could help scientists to learn how to create them in […]

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Exercise affects reproductive ability in horses

In the latest issue of the Journal of Animal Science, researchers at Clemson University and the University of Florida examine the impact of exercise on mare reproductive health and embryo transfer. In the study, researchers divided light-horse mares into three research groups: no exercise (control), partial-exercise and full-exercise. Their goal was to measure reproductive blood […]

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Exchange of DNA between egg cells may help prevent mitochondrial diseases

With the help of modified in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques, researchers are a step closer to finding a way to prevent mitochondrial diseases that can cause a range of potentially fatal disorders. These techniques were previously shown to work in monkeys, but now scientists report that they have successfully transferred DNA from one human egg […]

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Lab-made oocytes produce fertile offspring

Japanese researchers have coaxed mouse stem cells into becoming viable eggs that produce healthy offspring. The work provides a powerful tool to study basic elements of mammalian development and infertility that have long been shrouded in mystery. People have been trying to make sex cells from embryonic stem cells and from pluripotent cells for years, […]

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Nerve-growth protein linked to ovulation

A chemical in llama semen responsible for inducing ovulation in females has been identified and, surprisingly, it is a protein already known for its role in promoting the growth and survival of nerve cells in many species. The protein — nerve growth factor (NGF) — is also found in human semen, suggesting that it may […]

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First ever videos of snow leopard mother and cubs in dens recorded in Mongolia

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For the first time, the den sites of two female snow leopards and their cubs have been located in Mongolia’s Tost Mountains, with the first known videos taken of a mother and cubs, located and recorded by scientists from Panthera, a wild cat conservation organization, and the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT). Because of the snow […]

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Endangered species: Sex and the single rhinoceros

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Conservationists are taking heroic measures to restore the fertility of a three-footed Sumatran rhino. But some ask whether this is the right way to save an endangered species. First, the vet inserts his arm in a shoulder-length plastic glove. Next, he grips an ultrasound probe and slides both arm and probe deep into the rectum […]

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Men can rest easy: Sex chromosomes are here to stay

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Fears that sex-linked chromosomes, such as the male Y chromosome, are doomed to extinction have been refuted in a new genetic study which examines the sex chromosomes of chickens. The study, published May 12 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), looked at how genes on sex-linked chromosomes are passed down […]

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Mammals put embryo development on hold

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Early embryos of all mammalian species might be able to pause their development, hitting play again only when conditions in the uterus are just right. The ability of an embryo to go into ‘diapause’, a state of suspended animation after the egg is fertilized but before the growing ball of cells is implanted in the […]

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Egg-making stem cells found in adult ovaries

It’s time to rewrite the textbooks. For 60 years, everyone from high-school biology teachers to top fertility specialists has been operating under the assumption that women are born with all the eggs they will ever produce, with no way to replenish that supply. But the discovery of human egg-producing stem cells, harvested from the ovaries […]

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Artificial ‘womb’ unlocks secrets of early embryo development

Pioneering work by a leading University of Nottingham scientist has helped reveal for the first time a vital process in the development of the early mammalian embryo. A team led by Professor of Tissue Engineering, Kevin Shakesheff, has created a new device in the form of a soft polymer bowl which mimics the soft tissue […]

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