Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered that male fruit flies adjust their seminal fluid depending on the levels of competition from other males.

When more rivals are around, they create and add extra protein to their seminal fluid making it extra potent. This boosts the number of offspring their partners produce, but the extra effort comes at a cost: it tires the male out and makes him sluggish to remate.

It previously wasn’t known if sperm and seminal fluid could be changed independent of each other, but this research shows that it can.

Humans also transfer both sperm and seminal fluid during ejaculation and this finding could suggest a new understanding of factors affecting fertility. It may also suggest novel treatment avenues for the current male ‘fertility crisis’, evidenced by human sperm counts declining steeply over the past 40 years.

The researchers’ data, published today in PNAS, suggest that male fruit flies use different rules for changing different parts of semen. If exposed to one or many rivals the researchers observed increases in sperm transfer compared to zero rivals. However, with seminal protein they observed increases in protein transfer in the presence of many compared to one or zero.

Read more (University of Oxford website)

Similar stories

Human challenge trial launches to study immune response to COVID-19

Clinical Trials Coronavirus COVID-19 General

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has now been active for a year, not much is known about what happens when people who have already had COVID-19 are infected for a second time.

Alternating vaccines trial expands to include two additional vaccines

Clinical Trials Coronavirus COVID-19 General

Researchers running the Com-Cov study, launched in February to investigate alternating doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine, have today announced that the programme will be extended to include the Moderna and Novavax vaccines in a new study.

Oxford medical students launch flagship raffle in aid of NHS heroes and lifesaving medical equipment

General

Tingewick, a society formed of medical students from Oxford University, are hosting a virtual charity raffle. With over 70 amazing prizes, ranging from Truck festival tickets to restaurant vouchers to bags of books and even a bike, the raffle is an exciting way to celebrate lockdown lifting by supporting many wonderful Oxfordshire businesses whilst raising lots of money for charity.

AIMday in Women's Health - registration for academics now open

Events Innovation

Are you an academic interested in finding out how your knowledge can be used to solve industry challenges? Would you like to widen your network? Meet potential collaborators / future employees? Gain insights into relevant funding schemes? If you answer YES to any of the above, now is the time to register for the AIMday in Women's Health.

UK and EU regulators conclude benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks

Coronavirus COVID-19 General

Today, the medical regulators in the UK and Europe have announced their conclusions from their reviews of very rare cases of unusual blood clots in people who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.