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Study Contradicts Finding on Roundworms' Life Spans

February 22, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

Contradicting a widely publicized 1992 study that found that male roundworms who make sperm die an early death, Missouri researchers have now found that it is actually egg-producers who die young. Researchers had cited the earlier study as an indication that the stress of making sperm takes a toll on males.

The roundworms exist as either males or hermaphrodites, which begin life as sperm-producing males but later make eggs. Biologists David Gems and Donald Riddle report in Nature that hermaphrodites who have sex suffer a 50% drop in life span from the normal 17 days.

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