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Scientists at the UEA study the purpose of men

It seems every day scientists are coming up with new insights into human behaviour.

So how about this from those working at the University of East Anglia?

They're looking at the controversial issue of whether men serve any useful purpose at all.

It is research that is bound to provoke quite a response.

ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson went in search of answers. Click below to watch his report.

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What's the point of men? scientists find the answer studying beetles

Beetles used to study the purpose of men Credit: ITV News Anglia

New research from the University of East Anglia looking at the sexual habits of beetles has come up with a conclusion to the existence of men.

Scientists were looking at the reasons why men haven't become extinct, given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

The study found that rather than evolving to have an asexual population of women who reproduce only daughters - having men who have to compete to find a mate leads to a healthier population and better gene pool.

The study found that male beetles which didn't have to compete to find a mate became extinct after 10 generations.

So what is the point of men ? we spoke to people on Norwich Market to find out.

Click below to watch a short clip.

Students head to Holland with their 'eco car'

Students from the College of West Anglia with their 'eco car' Credit: ITV News Anglia

Students from the College of West Anglia in King's Lynn are heading to Holland today to show off their new eco car.

They were challenged to build a car that will go the furthest on one litre of fuel. They'll battle against 3000 students from across Europe.

'Eco car' designed by students Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We hope to double the miles per hour we got last year and we're hoping that the changes that we made will allow us to do that. So new body work, new engine system, hopefully that will all add up to the goal we're aiming for"

– Tyler Griffin and Sam Fletcher, engineering students

UEA scientists say they've worked out why men exist by studying beetles.

Tribolium flour beetles Credit: UEA

Scientists at the University of East Anglia say they've worked out why men exist, by studying the habits of beetles.

Biologists have long puzzled over why males have survived given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

In evolutionary terms, scientists say it makes more sense to have an all-female asexual population which creates daughters who can reproduce rather than sons who can not.

But new research suggests that sexual competition for mates keeps the population healthy and free of disease, keeping it genetically diverse.

Scientists studied a colony of Tribolium flour beetles and watched them evolve for 10 years under controlled laboratory conditions.

In some groups 90 beetles had to compete for the affections of 10 females, while in others females far outnumbered the males.

After 7 years or 50 generations of the beetles, researchers found that males who had competed the most for female attention were fitter and more resistant to disease and inbreeding.

In contrast beetles without sexual selection became extinct after 10 generations.

"These results show that sexual selection is important for population health and persistence, because it helps to purge negative and maintain positive genetic variation in a population. To be good at out-competing rivals and attracting partners in the struggle to reproduce, an individual has to be good at most things, so sexual selection provides an important and effective filter to maintain and improve population genetic health."

– Prof Matt Gage, UEA

The research has been published in the Journal of Nature called 'Sexual selection protects against extinction'.

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Bid to encourage more girls to become scientists

Top female scientists are visiting Norwich today to encourage more girls to follow in their footsteps. Credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire.

Some of the country's top female scientists and engineers will be in Norwich today to encourage more girls to go into the field.

More than 240 children from 20 schools will attend the Women of the Future event at the John Innes Centre at the Norwich Research Park.

Organisers say the conference is unprecedented in size and nature - bringing together teenage girls from Norfolk and Suffolk with female professionals in STEMM subjects - science, technology, engineering, maths, and medicine - to share knowledge and experiences.

Scientists' research into one of the most gruelling tests for runners

It's billed as the toughest footrace on earth: 150 miles over five days in the Moroccan desert.

The Marathon de Sables is one of the world's most gruelling endurance tests.

Now scientists in Cambridge are researching how competitors can cope with the demands of such an event.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Donovan Blake

Research centre gets broccoli patent

Staff at the John Innes Centre Credit: ITV News Anglia

A Norfolk research centre has won its legal battle to patent a new variety of broccoli.

The Beneforte broccoli was created at the John Innes Centre in the 1990s. Research suggests it could reduce the risk of heart disease and even some cancers.

The test case focused on whether plants could be patented under European law.

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