Archive by date | December 2009

Meddling with mosquito mating plugs

Meddling with mosquito mating plugs

Messing with the plugs that male mosquitoes deposit in female reproductive tracts could be a way to slow the spread of malaria, says a new study in PLOS Biology.

Such ‘mating plugs’, formed by proteins found in semen, are seen in many species. They are thought to prevent re-mating and / or help with sperm storage. In the new paper, Flaminia Catteruccia, of Imperial College London, and colleagues detail the composition of the plug used by males of the malarial mosquito species Anopheles gambiae.

UK research budget safe for next year

UK research funding has come off unscathed amid £135 million cuts to higher education for the academic year 2010-11, the business secretary, Peter Mandelson, has announced (Times Higher Education, The Times).

In a letter dated 22 December to Tim Melville-Ross, the chairman of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Mandelson reiterated the government’s commitment to funding university research.