Posted by Brooke

Mosquito sperm need to smell to swim

Mosquito sperm need to smell to swim

You’ve probably had someone tell you, at some point in your life, that the sense of smell is the sense most tightly linked to memory. Now, scientists have found that at least for mosquitoes, the sense of smell is also linked to the ability of their sperm to swim. The research was published in February in … Continue reading

Sex in the news: April 1-7

Sex in the news: April 1-7

This week in sex news: Cornell University received a $10M Specialized Research Center grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a Center for Reproductive Genomics. Researchers at the center will study the whys and hows of human reproduction and attempt to find new treatments for infertility. A meta-study concluded that antidepressants are harmful to … Continue reading

An oral pheromone makes male wasps unattractive to females

An oral pheromone makes male wasps unattractive to females

Communication is essential to any successful relationship, and insect relationships are no different. In insect (as in human) relationships, much of this communication is non-verbal.  Chemical cues in the form of pheromones help females of many insect species decide when to mate, who to make with and, when the deed is done, other chemicals let them … Continue reading

Don’t stress out your testicles!

Don’t stress out your testicles!

You probably don’t need science to tell you that when you’re stressed out you’re not likely to be in the mood. But can stress cause physical damage to your reproductive cells? A study published this month in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that it just might. Rats aren’t all that different from people. They … Continue reading

Sex in the news: March 23-29

Sex in the news: March 23-29

Here’s a recap of some of the sex-related happenings from the last week: The Supreme Court heard arguments in 2 cases regarding the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). The 2 companies contesting the mandate, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, argue that providing health care coverage to employees that includes free coverage for … Continue reading

Manipulating the mouse penis bone, with science

Manipulating the mouse penis bone, with science

The girth of a mouse penis bone depends on the stiffness of the competition. That’s what Leigh Simmons and Renée Firman at the University of Western Australia found after several generations of experimental evolution in mice. Over the course of the experiment, male mice developed thicker penis bones (or bacula, if you want to be scientific about … Continue reading

STD puts crickets in the mood

STD puts crickets in the mood

Imagine an STD that made you extra eager for sex. Oh, and it makes you sterile. This STD exists—in insects. Researchers working in a lab that studies field crickets came into work one day only to find, much to their dismay I imagine, that their colony had been infected with a virus. But, as they … Continue reading

Mom, dad and baby make…4?

Mom, dad and baby make…4?

You get half your DNA from your mom and half from your dad, right? Wrong. You may well have stored in the back of your mind, dusty from disuse, a word from some long-ago biology class: “mitochondria.”  You can think of mitochondria as tiny factories in your cells that pump out the energy you need … Continue reading

OMG. Sugar is poison!?

OMG. Sugar is poison!?

Toxic. It’s a bad word, right? If something is toxic, or poison, it will kill you. Period. Arsenic? Poison. Water? Not poison. See? Easy! How about this one: sugar. Well, if we’re to believe everything we read in the media, sugar is one of the worst poisons there is. And you’re killing yourself with it … Continue reading

Was a classic bioethics case built on smoke?

Was a classic bioethics case built on smoke?

Dr. Ricki Lewis at DNA Science Blog published today an in-depth look at a well-known bioethics case. The case involved my undergraduate mentor, Dr. Therese Markow. As it turns out, there is no actual evidence to support the accusation that Dr. Markow used Havasupai Indian blood for a study on Schizophrenia without their consent. No … Continue reading

A story of sex and fly poop

A story of sex and fly poop

Scientists know a lot about fly sex. Maybe too much. We know how male fruit flies woo their mates. We’ve picked apart the seminal fluid to study all of the molecules in it. We know what happens to the female after sex–and how it can even make her sick. And we know what happens to … Continue reading

The origins of monogamy in humans

The origins of monogamy in humans

Why humans evolved to be in monogamous relationships is still a bit of a mystery, but new research suggests it came about as a way to prevent infanticide. To learn more, check out Carl Zimmer’s article about this research in the New York Times HERE.

Absence makes the genitalia grow weirder

Absence makes the genitalia grow weirder

Evolution loves penises. How else do you explain all the crazy penis shapes out there? Por ejemplo (slightly nsfw): the corkscrew duck penis, the spiny cat and chimp members, the sci-fi-esque spiked penis of a seed beetle, the 4-headed penis of the echidna, and, well, all of these. Why so many ways to make a sperm … Continue reading

Update to duck penis science

Update to duck penis science

Back in 2011, I posted a video about duck penis research. Sadly, that video is gone. But I replaced it with another showing how the duck penis can break through several types of materials in the shape of duck ladyparts. Check it out here, along with a link to an article posted on Slate today … Continue reading

What your testicles taste

What your testicles taste

Most people probably think of tastebuds as existing only on their tongues, but did you know there are taste buds in testes? It’s true. Sort of. They aren’t exactly like the taste buds in your mouth. Male germ cells–the cells that are destined to become sperm–have molecules on them that can detect bitter tastes. These … Continue reading

Special issue in Nature on gender bias!

Special issue in Nature on gender bias!

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that Nature’s most recent issue is focused on the gender gap in the sciences. Just this past November, Nature finally copped to the fact that they have some serious work of their own to do on fighting sexism. While Nature’s hiring practices for reporters and editors of their … Continue reading

More stuff for pregnant women to freak out about

More stuff for pregnant women to freak out about

A quick look at the press releases on Eurekalert for this week yielded: Eating junk food while pregnant may make your child a junk food addict (FASEB journal) Progesterone may be why pregnant women are more vulnerable to certain infections (Journal of Leukocyte Biology) When morning sickness lasts all day (TMI: Åse Vikanes’s doctoral thesis all about … Continue reading

The discriminating vagina

The discriminating vagina

All kinds of things go into a woman’s vagina. Some are friendly (like sperm and vaginal microbes), and some are very bad (STDs). The immune system in the vagina has to be able to tell the difference and react appropriately. As you can imagine, the system isn’t perfect and sometimes things go terribly wrong. An … Continue reading

Originally posted on Swampland:
There are two Americas when it comes to abortion—one in which it’s nearly impossible to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, and one in which access to the procedure is mostly unfettered and often publicly financed. Geography is everything. While abortion has been a federally protected right for 40 years, in some states,…

Bad parenting is hilarious.

Bad parenting is hilarious.

I guess I missed this commercial for the Kia Sorento during the Superbowl, but I just saw it on TV for the first time tonight. And boy, was it adorable. If lying to your kids and then shutting them down when they express an interest in understanding how the world works is adorable. Based on … Continue reading

Being pregnant must be super scary

Being pregnant must be super scary

Kate Middleton might love being pregnant, but for the average woman it can be confusing and scary. Every day we learn about some new thing that, if you do it when you’re pregnant, can totally screw up your kid. By this point, pretty much everyone knows that you shouldn’t smoke or drink during pregnancy. Even … Continue reading

Giving STDs to goats. For science!

Giving STDs to goats. For science!

Goats could potentially transmit a dangerous parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, in their semen, according to research by Flaviana Wanderley and colleagues in Brazil. Well…who cares? Why should scientists devote research dollars and time to purposely giving goats STDs, just to see if they can? Like with so many other apparently bizarre research projects, the answer is: … Continue reading