Sunday, September 12, 2010

Paper on Human Male Reproductive Senescence

The latest issue of the Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences has this interesting paper on human male reproductive senescence. Here is the abstract:

Unlike menopause, male reproductive senescence does not involve an acute drop in fertility. Men do, however, manifest distinct changes in somatic and gonadal function with age. Moreover, population variation in male reproductive senescence reveals phenotypic plasticity resulting from environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors. An evolutionary and life history perspective is vital for understanding male reproductive senescence because aging involves biological constraint as well as adjustments to reproductive strategies and the allocation of somatic resources. An awareness of life history–related tradeoffs between energetic and time constraints is especially useful because biological aspects of male senescence are products of environmental challenges and natural selection. This article reviews the adaptive significance of the evolutionary biology of human male senescence with particular attention to population variation. An evolutionary perspective cannot only shed light on the origins and biology of human male senescence but also provide insights into contemporary issues of male aging and health.