Story by the Office of Communications.
In many species, mating comes at the steep price of an organism's life, an evolutionary process intended to regulate reproductive competition. But males of certain roundworm species have doubled down with two methods of checking out after mating, including one in which the males poison each other, according to new research.
Princeton University researchers report in the journal eLife two separate causes of early death in males of the roundworm species Caenorhabditis elegans — mating and pheromones released by other males. The findings provide insight into how aging, longevity and population are naturally regulated for different species and sexes.
"Differences in longevity between the sexes is a common yet mysterious phenomenon," said senior author Coleen Murphy, a Princeton University professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. "C. elegans has been an excellent model organism to probe the underlying mechanisms of aging and longevity regulation, and sex-specific longevity patterns also exist in C. elegans."
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