Can worms choose their mates?


Worms, specifically hermaphrodite worms, can indeed choose whether to mate with males or not. This decision is significant because mating with a male is energetically costly and can shorten the lifespan of the worms due to potential injuries from males and the energy expended during mating. Additionally, mating with a male results in diluting their own genome since they can self-fertilize and transmit their genes without alteration. However, mating with a male also allows for diversification of their genome, which can be evolutionarily advantageous. Stress conditions, like high temperatures, can also impact a worm’s offspring by increasing their tendency to mate with males, mediated through the secretion of pheromones that attract males 1 2.

Worms' Offspring Choice

Oded explains how hermaphrodite worms can choose to mate with males or not, the risks and benefits of mating, and how stress can affect their offspring's choice of mates. Andrew draws an analogy to humans and explains how inbreeding can create deleterious mutations.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Oded Rechavi: Genes & the Inheritance of Memories Across Generations | Huberman Lab Podcast