Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
There are instances of microbes affecting sexual health and fertility across the animal kingdom, and these impacts seem to have important consequences for reproductive biology and behaviour.
So reproductive microbiomes can have significant effects on the reproductive function and performance of both males and females. The role of the reproductive microbiome in sexual selection, mating system, and sexual conflict is coming to light in recent times.
Research has shown that bacteria can damage sperm form and function, and that damaged sperm can contribute to pregnancy failure.
Some microbes benefit one sex or species while harming another. For example, Lactobacilllus—associated with a healthy vaginal microbiome in women and high-quality semen in men—seems to negatively affect sperm-swimming speed in chickens.The combination of sequencing advances, genomic resources, and investigations of host sexual behaviour will likely lead to more discoveries soon and help in understanding and further better reproductive science.
Source: Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Rowe et al.: "The Reproductive Microbiome: An Emerging Driver of Sexual Selection, Sexual Conflict, Mating Systems, and Reproductive Isolation" https://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/fulltext/S0169-5347(19)30325-8 , DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2019.11.004