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Science

Promiscuity Alters DNA and Boosts Immunity In Mice 91

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-a-pickup dept.
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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Promiscuity Alters DNA and Boosts Immunity In Mice

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  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @01:50PM (#41200793)

    I knew monogamy was bad for you.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Only if you're a slut.

    • Re:Ha (Score:4, Interesting)

      by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @01:59PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Metsys (718186)
        Also mice don't have to pay child support.
        • Re:Ha (Score:4, Funny)

          by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @02:46PM (#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.
        • Neither do the guys who get lots of different women pregnant. They just move on.

          • by epyT-R (613989)

            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..

            • 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.

              • by epyT-R (613989)

                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.

      • 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?

      • Somehow the real benefits elude me.

        Big tumble in population, huge gain in lebensraum? [wikipedia.org]

      • by shaitand (626655)

        "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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by pesho (843750)
      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.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      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.
    • I knew monogamy was bad for you.

      Like it matters to a Slashdotter.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "Like it matters to a Slashdotter."

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

    • 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? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mithent (2515236) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @02:01PM (#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? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 01, 2012 @02:12PM (#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.

      • 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 bact

    • by Hatta (162192)

      "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.

    • by Imrik (148191)

      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.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @02:02PM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "That would be my hypothesis at least."

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

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        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.

        • by drkim (1559875)

          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!

          • ...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).

          • by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge@NospAM.gmail.com> on Saturday September 01, 2012 @09:06PM (#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!

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

    • by 32771 (906153)

      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:
      htt [violence.de]

  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@NOspam.gdargaud.net> on Saturday September 01, 2012 @02:07PM (#41200889) Homepage
    ...hope that's the classic correlation is not causation...
    • Yeah, it's probably that her strong immune system negates the inhibiting effects that catching colds from sleeping around would normally cause.

    • by tstrunk (2562139)

      Surprisingly your mom still gets sick from time to time.

      Maybe just outliers....

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

  • by Delarth799 (1839672) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @02:36PM (#41201037)
    I wasn't cheating, I was just boosting my immune system so I don't get sick as much.
  • That's the conclusion I draw from the study.
  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @02:46PM (#41201095)

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

    • by PFritz21 (766949)

      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...

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

  • ...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.

    • ...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.

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

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

    • by arth1 (260657)

      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.

  • 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...

  • by hemo_jr (1122113) on Saturday September 01, 2012 @03:42PM (#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.

  • 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... ;)

  • by Greyfox (87712)
    So... What you're saying... is we should be having sex with mice? Mmmmaybe? [deviantart.com]

    Yeah. That's right. I went there.

  • 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!"

I am here by the will of the people and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back. - a slogan of the anarchists in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage"

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