Mating with female boosts male’s sexual longevity

January 23rd, 2009 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 23 (IANS) Mating with a female can boost the male’s sexual longevity by a dramatic 20 percent, according to a study. A team, headed by Ralph Brinster, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, found that male mice housed with females maintained fertility levels until 32 months - a six-month increase in fertility over solitary males.

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.

Researchers postulated that a female housed with a male mouse delays reproductive ageing by affecting the cells surrounding the stem cells that produce spermatozoa in the testes, said a Pennsylvania release.

The effect on the environment of the sprematogonial stem cells likely occurs through the male’s endocrine and nervous systems, the scientists theorised. “Whether this female influence occurs in other species is not known,” Brinster noted.

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.

The study appears online in Biology of Reproduction.

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