Scientists at the University of Cambridge have succeeded in growing miniature functional models of the lining of the womb (uterus) in culture. These organoids, as they are known, could provide new insights into the early stages of pregnancy and conditions such as endometriosis, a painful condition that affects as many as two million women in the UK.
A study of one of the most important medieval texts devoted to women’s medicine has opened a window into the many rituals associated with conception and childbirth. Research into the shifting communication of knowledge contributes to a wider project looking at the history of reproduction from ‘magical’ practices right through to IVF.
Azim Surani (Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute) discusses gene editing of the human germline.
Jacob Dunn (Division of Biological Anthropology) discusses why sperm are the most diverse cells found among animals.
Evolutionary ‘trade-off’ between size of throat and testes discovered in howler monkeys furthers Darwin’s theory of sexual selection and corresponds to mating systems: males with larger throats but smaller testes often have exclusive access to females, while those with larger testes share mates.
Females protect offspring from infanticide by forcing males to compete through sperm instead of violence13 Nov 2014
Latest research shows the females of some mammal species will have many mates to ensure unclear paternity, so that males can’t resort to killing their rival’s offspring for fear of killing their own. This forces males to evolve to compete through sperm quantity, leading to ever-larger testicles. Scientists find that as testis size increases, infanticide disappears.
Research for a new book reveals a culturally sanctioned suppression of dialogue around male infertility – despite it being equally as common as female infertility – to the extent that many infertile men receiving treatment still don’t actually consider themselves infertile.
Mothers who lose their pups to infanticide by the dominant female in a meerkat group often then provide the dominant female with a wet-nurse service, say researchers who have carried out the most comprehensive study of wet-nursing in a single species to date.