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Promiscuity Alters DNA and Boosts Immunity In Mice

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the now-that's-a-pickup dept.

Science 91

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley found that promiscuous mice have significantly stronger immune systems than monogamous mice, suggesting that promiscuous mice may have developed more robust immunity to protect them against the disease-causing bacteria they are exposed to from mating with multiple partners."

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91 comments

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Ha (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41200793)

I knew monogamy was bad for you.

Re:Ha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200831)

Only if you're a slut.

Re:Ha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200885)

My asshole loves to be fucked directly off until it's filled with a tidal wave of cum ! Such thing...

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41202065)

You know, this kind of post passes thru /. filter with ease... but don't dare you to post a cent symbol, this is totally unacceptable over here.

Re:Ha (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41200841)

The same approach in the medieval times meant (as the medical scientists speculate) fewer allergies, but at the cost of more child burials. Hardly a good trade-off, don't you think? Or another take on the same topic: more terrorists in streets sweeping innocent citizens with firearms would be better for the general public because the end result would be a greater number of proficient self-defense shooters. Somehow the real benefits elude me.

Re:Ha (3, Funny)

Metsys (718186) | about 2 years ago | (#41200855)

Also mice don't have to pay child support.

Re:Ha (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41201097)

No, but promiscuous mice are more likely to spend more of their income on blue cheese movies. Although, on second thought, that would probably serve to make them even happier.

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41204171)

No, but promiscuous mice are more likely to spend more of their income on blue cheese movies. Although, on second thought, that would probably serve to make them even happier.

Remember, kids!

Bluetooth
BluRay
Bleu Cheese

Zees "bleu cheese" wees ze erbs, non? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#41204885)

Remember, kids!

Bluetooth
BluRay
Bleu Cheese

Er, I've always known it to be spelled "Blue cheese" [wikipedia.org] , and apparently Wikipedia agrees. I've never seen it called "bleu(!) cheese" in my life.

Is this some weird pretentious Yank affectation, like the jarring way they don't pronounce the "h" in "herbs" for some reason?

At any rate, I know "bleu" is French for blue, but so what? If you want to use the French spelling, shouldn't you go the whole hog and call it "du fromage bleu"... well, that was my guess, but it turns out that the French don't even use that literal translation, and actually call it "Fromage à pâte persillée". So I'm not sure what the point of "bleu cheese" is at all, except some very silly half-baked and misguided attempt at cod-French sophistication.

Re:Zees "bleu cheese" wees ze erbs, non? (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#41209495)

"Is this some weird pretentious Yank affectation, like the jarring way they don't pronounce the "h" in "herbs" for some reason?"

No that is an idiot. Blue Cheese is blue cheese here in yank land. As for pronouncing the silent "h" in herbs, silent letters aren't supposed to be pronounced.

Re:Zees "bleu cheese" wees ze erbs, non? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#41209603)

only in yankland is the 'h' in 'herbs' silent.

probably because yank english retains some oddities from the dialects spoken by the small groups of 17th century religious nutters that founded many of the original colonies.

that origin explains some of the major flaws with yankland, found especially in the jesusland regions, so it probably explains this minor one too.

Re:Zees "bleu cheese" wees ze erbs, non? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#41216395)

No that is an idiot. Blue Cheese is blue cheese here in yank land.

Apparently there *are* some people out there who call it "bleu cheese" [google.co.uk] , but it's definitely not used in Britain. :-/

As for pronouncing the silent "h" in herbs, silent letters aren't supposed to be pronounced.

Well, yes, I guess that it *is* meant to be a silent letter... if you're trying to affect a silly cod-French accent, that is. ;-P

I could understand this as being a part of the American accent's supposed relation to the English "West Country" accent, but when they drop the "h" on words it sounds natural, whereas the way Americans say "erbs" grates, like it *hasn't* got an implied apstrophe at the start. :-)

Er, anyway, that's enough slagging off bizarre American pronounciations for one day. (^_^)

Re:Ha (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41201343)

Neither do the guys who get lots of different women pregnant. They just move on.

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201401)

Neither do the guys who get lots of different women pregnant. They just move on.

... to Ecuador.

Re:Ha (1)

scarboni888 (1122993) | about 2 years ago | (#41208749)

Helping to keep the world safe from fascists does have its privileges, it's true.

No one got pregnant anyway so you're really grasping at straws there.

Even the rest is debatable at this point but we'll probably never know for sure because that isn't what this fiasco is really about and everyone knows it.

Re:Ha (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#41201809)

those women got themselves pregnant too. They chose to have sex and then chose to have the kids. It's too bad they're never held accountable for these choices with the same ferocity..

Re:Ha (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41201847)

Yes, the women have no penalty at all. That child becomes a passport to the gravy train, and she can just sit back and enjoy the rest of her life, sponging off either the government and the Dad's child support payments.

Re:Ha (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#41201955)

unfortunately.. it would be nice if men had the same post conception choice because it would level the tables and encourage birth only when both parents are willing and financially/psychologically ready. All this would take is marriage, or a simple contract which would then bind the guy to his choice. Fathers willing to support their kids have their seed spread and have healthier families too.. those fathers who aren't willing/able to support their offspring generally won't.

Re:Ha (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41200887)

What? Where did you see anyone talking about medieval times in that article? Or allergies? When did the middle ages become less disease-ridden? Or more promiscuous? More children equals terrorism? Or that easy women are terrorists? ...What?

Re:Ha (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41200899)

I was talking about exposing yourself to pathogens in order to force the immunity system to work harder.

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201189)

Oh ok. I'm such an idiot sometimes! The world would be a better place if I could learn how to keep my mouth shut!

No wonder my wife left me. The dog too.

- Intrepid imaginaut

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201233)

You go first. How about trying polio as your first attempt?

Re:Ha (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41201333)

Why the hell would I do something that I'm vocal about not doing for any reason?

Re:Ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200909)

Hardly a good trade-off

Says who? It's not me dying. I say it is a good trade off.

Ha! Ha! Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201669)

Does this mean slashdotters are a dying breed?

Re:Ha (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#41209471)

"The same approach in the medieval times meant (as the medical scientists speculate) fewer allergies, but at the cost of more child burials. Hardly a good trade-off"

Seems like a good tradeoff to me, allergies suck and we've got over-population problems.

Re:Ha (1, Funny)

pesho (843750) | about 2 years ago | (#41200917)

You wish! In fact the article points out that your polygamy may be good for your grand-grand-grand-children, should you manage survive the variety of STDs you may pick while fooling around. So go ahead have fun and if your are lucky your progeny will be thank you for that.

Re:Ha (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#41203381)

/chuckle
I can here the cry now "I'm not a slut, I'm doing it for my grandchildren!"

Re:Ha (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41201031)

That's like saying washing your hands after you use the toilet is bad for you. Have we taken the whole antiseptic thing a bit too far? Perhaps. But getting infested with STD's cannot be the most healthy way to the white blood cells flowing.

Re:Ha (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41201137)

I knew monogamy was bad for you.

Like it matters to a Slashdotter.

Re:Ha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201979)

"Like it matters to a Slashdotter."

Are you saying we are playing around in the shallow end of the gene pool with inflatable armbands?

Re:Ha (1)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | about 2 years ago | (#41203901)

I don't know, I thought "Yuck" as I read "protect them against the disease-causing bacteria they are exposed to from mating with multiple partners"! I've seen some scary stuff if you know what I mean, you don't necessarily want to hit anything you can get....

Alters DNA? (5, Informative)

Mithent (2515236) | about 2 years ago | (#41200851)

"Promiscuity Alters DNA" makes it sound like promiscuity directly causes mutations. It seems, rather, that it results in greater variation in vaginal bacteria, a state which creates selective pressure favouring increased diversity in genes involved in the functioning of the immune system... which isn't quite the same thing.

Re:Alters DNA? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200913)

In other words : promiscuous mice are more likely to get infected, and as such, the ones with a bad immune system died out, leaving only the mice with a stronger immune system.

Since other mice were not influenced by this specific natural selection, they are less immune.

Re:Alters DNA? (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about 2 years ago | (#41215791)

Couldn't it also be that those who were promiscuous just happened to have stronger immune systems? Perhaps they were both affected by some other undocumented factor. Or maybe a documented one! Like the fact that they compared two different species of mice?

From TFA: "Results from the study found that the lifestyles of the two species of mice made a direct impact on the bacterial communities that living within the female reproductive tract, as well as the diversity of genes related to immunity against bacterial disease."

Sounds to me as though the two are related, not that one impacts the other. Perhaps I'm mistaken though, mouse-sexuality research isn't exactly my field, but I know a little bit about research methodology and statistics.

Re:Alters DNA? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41201939)

"Alter" doesn't really have the mechanistic implications you think it does. If you do an experiment, everything identical except plus/minus a stimulus, and the results are different, it's valid to say the stimulus altered the result.

Re:Alters DNA? (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about 2 years ago | (#41215799)

Depends how you define stimulus.

Re:Alters DNA? (1)

Imrik (148191) | about 2 years ago | (#41202667)

I didn't see anything about cause and effect in the article. It's possible that the stronger immune system meant the mice were more likely to survive being promiscuous and that being promiscuous increased their odds of passing on their genes.

Re:Alters DNA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41209459)

Thank you Top Comment.

The Slashdot summary was the typical distorted abortion that we've all come to know and love.

s.t.

I bet it's not about the encounters (4, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | about 2 years ago | (#41200857)

I bet it's not about the encounters but all about the lesser sexual stress/frustration. I'd argue it's the same with humans, to a certain degree. Mostly men, but women too. Unsafe sex endangers your health, but a solid amount of safe sex is likely to be good for health. That would be my theory at least.

The negative influence that sexual frustration has on ones health is vastly underestimated, I've come to believe. Especially since I've experienced what positive effects a healthy sex life can have.

My 2 cents.

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201203)

"That would be my hypothesis at least."

FTFY. It's not a theory unless tested, and survives reproducibility over time.

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#41201767)

I bet it's not about the encounters but all about the lesser sexual stress/frustration... but a solid amount of safe sex is likely to be good for health. That would be my theory at least.

"That would be my hypothesis at least."

FTFY. It's not a theory unless tested, and survives reproducibility over time.

Why... you only need to look at the US politics... Clinton - less sexually inhibited - fucked only inside White House. Bush - a moral methodist [wikipedia.org] - fucked the entire world. Which times were better?

No, seriously (large-grin-with-tongue-in-cheek)... I'd say the entire world would be better if the nomination for the US presidents would include elements regarding, at the very least, the presence of an active sexual life.

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41202097)

the entire world would be better if the nomination for the US presidents would include elements regarding, at the very least, the presence of an active sexual life.

JFK and Thomas Jefferson
vs.
Carter and Nixon

...yeah. You may have something there!

The problems with sinless people? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#41202401)

...yeah. You may have something there!

The issue may originate in the people that think of them as "being right and moral" and thus tend to throw too many stones ("he who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her") without realizing they are actually doing it out of frustration accumulated by "living a moral life" (e.g. denying their body what their body asks from them).

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (5, Interesting)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | about 2 years ago | (#41203199)

Whatever Carter's faults, he paved the way for the revival of the American brewing industry. Here's a joke you haven't heard for decades:

Why is American beer like having sex in a canoe?
They're both fucking close to water.

Imagine a world where the only options are Budweiser, Coors, or Miller. Terrible! Yet it existed. Carter legalized home brewing, which led to the resurgence of microbreweries that we tipplers currently enjoy. So if you'll excuse me, I will raise a glass to the continued health of Mr. Carter and the American beer industry!

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41206683)

A glass of Billy Beer, no doubt!

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41203353)

One could sum it up under "It's better to have a prez that gets a BJ than having one that needs one badly".

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41203723)

One could sum it up under "It's better to have a prez that gets a BJ than having one that needs one badly".

Yeap... NESS (not enough sex syndrome) is even shorter.
Beware when a chronic NESS overlaps with an acute PMS (considering the whole Wikileaks brouhaha, Hillary must be quite bad)

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41204763)

You're being needlessly pedantic regarding the common and scientific usages of the word "theory."

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41204413)

Especially since I've experienced what positive effects a healthy sex life can have

This is slashdot. If you really expect us to believe that, you must be new here.

Re:I bet it's not about the encounters (1)

32771 (906153) | about 2 years ago | (#41205565)

I'm kind of wondering whether it is more the intercourse part or the hugging and cuddling part. But never mind, whole communities have formed around this idea of yours.

You could read the paper by Prescott called "Body pleasure and the origins of violence". As far as I have followed this addiction can be one result of to little contact to people in your early life:
"http://www.addictioninfo.org/articles/610/1/Somatosensory-Affectional-Deprivation-Theory/Page1.html"

Also you can read from the following page:
http://www.violence.de/ [violence.de]

On the page it is stated:
"CULTURES THAT PUNISH INFANTS OR REPRESS SEXUALITY ARE VIOLENT"

I would suspect that if you want to build an empire you tell your people that sex is bad for them so you can expand through violence. Maybe this is the reason that I have to point you to a German page and not an American one. You will find that this empire building idea is not that en vogue over here anymore and people actually carry their kids around with them now to simulate the natural behaviour. Interestingly there are even places around here where you can learn to massage your kids. This follows one of Prescott's suggestions.

So the negative influence of too little body contact and sex is not underestimated but not read about enough.

Beyond all that I heard that human immune systems can accommodate a number of partners with their different microbial fauna, but that there is a natural limit of around a handful. Unfortunately I can't give you a citation.

Obviously they *deserve* "free" birth control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200879)

"Free" birth control is a fundamental human right, DAMNIT!

Re:Obviously they *deserve* "free" birth control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201687)

Agreed. There would be fewer Todd Akins in the world.

Win-win.

My wife is never sick... (4, Funny)

dargaud (518470) | about 2 years ago | (#41200889)

...hope that's the classic correlation is not causation...

Re:My wife is never sick... (2)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | about 2 years ago | (#41200927)

Yeah, it's probably that her strong immune system negates the inhibiting effects that catching colds from sleeping around would normally cause.

Re:My wife is never sick... (1)

tstrunk (2562139) | about 2 years ago | (#41201305)

Surprisingly your mom still gets sick from time to time.

Maybe just outliers....

Mice follow Nietzsche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41200923)

Those that didn't get killed wound up stronger.

Of course, the ones that did get killed weren't too happy about it...

Re:Mice follow Nietzsche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41202017)

How do you know? Maybe they died happy?

Nope (1)

ocean_soul (1019086) | about 2 years ago | (#41201021)

"...alters DNA...", no. No, it does not. This is a completely wrong headline.

Look baby (2)

Delarth799 (1839672) | about 2 years ago | (#41201037)

I wasn't cheating, I was just boosting my immune system so I don't get sick as much.

Ron Jeremy is immortal? (2)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about 2 years ago | (#41201069)

That's the conclusion I draw from the study.

To the wife... (2)

macbeth66 (204889) | about 2 years ago | (#41201095)

I'll see you later hon, I have to go out and get a booster shot.

Re:To the wife... (1)

PFritz21 (766949) | about 2 years ago | (#41202467)

I'll see you later hon, I have to go out and get a booster shot.

More like go out and GIVE a booster shot...

More like hurry up and go out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41203701)

I've got to get in there and give his wife her booster shot!

Start slowly...but not too slowly. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41201131)

Finally! Now Slashdotters have a rational reason to get off their ass and ask a girl out.

Occam's Razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201169)

They're just benefiting from more exercise than the rest of us.

causality (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#41201179)

...or it suggests that mice with stronger immune systems are more inclined to be promiscuous.

Granted, the hypothesis suggested in TFA is more plausible, but it's not the only possible explanation.

Re:causality (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | about 2 years ago | (#41203909)

...or it suggests that mice with stronger immune systems are more inclined to be promiscuous.

Granted, the hypothesis suggested in TFA is more plausible, but it's not the only possible explanation.

I don't see why your premise is less plausible. A healthier organism is more likely to attract multiple mates. It seems far more plausible to me, actually.

Other studies (1)

SlashDev (627697) | about 2 years ago | (#41201199)

show that promiscuous mice are at higher risk of contracting disease, I wonder if the other mice were disease-free, what's the point of altering DNA if a mice gets ill and dies before passing on to other mice.

By this flawed logic (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41201245)

We just need to stop practicing safe sex and be even more promiscuous to end epidemics like AIDS and incurable forms of Gonorrhea.

Uninteresting (1)

Argos (173864) | about 2 years ago | (#41201291)

Does not apply to Slashdot readers. Neither the "mice" nor the "promiscuity".

Re:Uninteresting (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41201491)

Does not apply to Slashdot readers. Neither the "mice" nor the "promiscuity".

Don't underestimate the power of Rule 34. Not only will there be people who are sexually attracted to promiscuous mice posting evidence of it somewhere, but there will - hard to believe as it may be - people who think being a slashdotter is a turn-on.

I know, it sounds incredible, but I actually know a woman afflicted by the latter perversity.

Not quite (1)

astaines (451138) | about 2 years ago | (#41201391)

It's not promsicuous and monogamous mice, it's about a relatively promsicuous species of mouse, and a diffferent, relatively monogamous, species of mouse. These different species have different immune systems. It shows less about mice, than about wishful thinking...

Old News (2)

hemo_jr (1122113) | about 2 years ago | (#41201461)

This was observed in primates earlier. Bonobos are the most promiscuous of primates and also have to devote the most resources to their immune systems.

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201689)

Quickly scanning your post, I read it as "Bimbos are the most promiscuous ..." first ;-)

Those free-loving hippie mice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201471)

This study is obviously biased...where are the non-West coast mice studies?

!LIBERAL MEDIA!

insurance claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201887)

does this mean that my I can ask my HMO to reimburse prostitutes as preventative care?

Re:insurance claims (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#41202123)

does this mean that my I can ask my HMO to reimburse prostitutes as preventative care?

No, hookers have to be written off on your taxes as an 'entertainment' expense.
(Just take my word on this one...)

Sans fertilization, it's not really sex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41201895)

From a biological perspective, unless you reproduce, technically it is "unsuccessful sex." And if you're not trying to reproduce, whatever the encounter is, it isn't sex. Science has spoken.

Re:Sans fertilization, it's not really sex. (2)

hazah (807503) | about 2 years ago | (#41206015)

And this is helpful to the topic at hand how?

Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41202205)

How evolution works by see more butts.

Mice aren't humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41202379)

Or didn't the so-called 'researchers' notice this?

Mice are NOTHING LIKE humans. So why is this bullshit being presented as if it has ANYTHING to do with human promiscuity?

Re:Mice aren't humans (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#41203431)

Actually their biology is extremely similar to humans, hence their use in so much medical research (along with their dramatically shorter lifecycle). Only apes (and most other simians) and possibly pigs are more similar. Specific drugs or procedures do occasionally differ in their effect, but generally speaking if something is true for mice, it's probably true for humans as well.

Naked wrestling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41202631)

See, naked wrestling is good for you. Even the ancient Greeks knew that.
To be a little more serious, along ago the form of syphilis shared with others was the one causing only minor skin symptoms. This was passed on with the sharing of resting areas. Having the less severe form of syphilis produced resistance against the sexually transmitted version.

Or (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#41202699)

Or it means that mice with better immune systems become more promiscuous. Or that generations of mice that have been promiscuous just happened to have better immune systems, so they survived the mouse versions of venereal diseases longer and multiplied while the monogamous mice had to stay monogamous to avoid death.

Geez, the options on these studies are a lot further ranging than the headlines let on... ;)

Re:Or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41204249)

and out of all posts, this should get a +5 Insightfull.

So... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#41202741)

So... What you're saying... is we should be having sex with mice? Mmmmaybe? [deviantart.com]

Yeah. That's right. I went there.

Darwin Award Article (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about 2 years ago | (#41204747)

I'm sure there will be a bunch of folks who read this article and think: "If I have promiscuous sex, it will alter my DNA to have more disease immunity!"

coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41206811)

Quote at the very bottom of the page:
"Are you sure the back door is locked?"

That explains it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41210199)

Wow, not I know why I never get sick!

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