When you study mice, it’s often really important to make your subjects have sex on a particular night. But often, when you plop males and females together, they just don’t feel in the mood. Perhaps borrowing from their own experiences, these researchers decide to see if letting the mice get to know one another first might make them a bit more randy.
A co-housing strategy to improve fecundity of mice in timed matings.
“Timed matings of mice are often carried out to obtain offspring of a precise age when required for a study. Timed matings involve housing male and female mice together for a limited time period, typically overnight. A limitation of this practice is that many mouse pairs fail to mate during the brief co-housing period. The authors co-housed each breeding pair in the same cage but separated by a transparent partition for 3 d before carrying out timed matings. This co-housing strategy resulted in increased copulation during the timed mating period and also significantly increased the average number of pups produced per breeding pair. The authors suggest that co-housing likely permits male urine-borne pheromones to induce female estrus and also enables the expression of male and female mating behaviors.”
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