The presence of male sperm and seminal fluid causes female worms to shrivel and die after giving birth, Princeton University researchers reported this week in the journal Science. The demise of the female appears to benefit the male worm by removing her from the mating pool for other males.
The researchers found that male sperm and seminal fluid trigger pathways that cause females to dehydrate, prematurely age and die.
"Their lifespans are cut by about a third to a half," said senior author Coleen Murphy, an associate professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.
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