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Science Ticker

Sperm protein may offer target for male contraceptive

sperm and egg

Blocking a newly identified protein in sperm tails stops sperm from penetrating eggs, and could be the key for developing male contraceptives.

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For 65 years, birth control pills have been exclusively for women. But men may be a step closer to getting in on the action, researchers report October 1 in Science.

A newly identified sperm protein, called PPP3CC/PPP3R2, could give scientists a promising target for developing male contraceptives. The protein resides in sperm tails and helps sperm push through the tough outer membrane of an egg.

Blocking the protein with drugs for two weeks made mice infertile, though they were still able to have sex. And just a week after stopping the drug treatment, fertility recovered. Blocking the sperm protein in humans could lead to reversible and fast-acting birth control options for men, the researchers write.


Kavli Foundation gives more money for the brain

By Laura Sanders 5:01pm, October 1, 2015
The Kavli Foundation will provide $100 million toward solving the mysteries of the brain.

This may be the world's tiniest snail

By Helen Thompson 3:58pm, September 30, 2015
Tiny snail unearthed in China could be the world's smallest, researchers report.
Animals,, Biophysics

Some bats chug nectar with conveyor belt tongues

By Helen Thompson 6:30am, September 29, 2015
Grooved bat tongues work like escalators or conveyor belts, transporting nectar from tip to mouth.
Planetary Science

Salt streaks sign of present-day water flows on Mars

By Christopher Crockett 11:00am, September 28, 2015
Salt deposits on Mars hint at contemporary seasonal water flows on the Red Planet.
Animals,, Microbes

Don't judge a whale's gut microbiome by diet alone

By Helen Thompson 2:30pm, September 25, 2015
Evolutionary history and diet may both determine the microbes that live in a baleen whale's stomach, researchers report.
Anthropology,, Human Evolution

Ancient hominid ears were tuned to high frequencies

By Bruce Bower 2:00pm, September 25, 2015
Two ancient hominid species may have heard high-frequency sounds especially well.

This weekend, lunar eclipse coincides with supermoon

By Christopher Crockett 12:45pm, September 25, 2015
On September 27, sky gazers will be treated to a rare type of total lunar eclipse.

Balloons-and-glue device seals remote wounds inside the body

By Meghan Rosen 2:00pm, September 23, 2015
To repair damaged tissue, surgeons can deliver a glue patch using two balloons and a blast of UV light.

Invisibility cloaks slim down

By Andrew Grant 2:00pm, September 17, 2015
An ultrathin invisibility cloak called a skin cloak offers more stealth in a thinner package.
Animals,, Climate,, Ecology

Warmer waters give Arctic mosquitoes a growth spurt

By Sarah Schwartz 12:44pm, September 16, 2015
Arctic mosquitoes develop faster in warmer waters, outpacing increased predation.
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