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Government grant of the day: Feds give $880,000 for study of snail sex

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By Doug Powers  •  March 28, 2013 03:20 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

First came news of a $400,000 grant to Yale to study duck genitalia (with taxpayers getting stuck with the bill), and now it’s time to double down:

The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.

The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.

“Sexual reproduction is more costly than asexual reproduction [just paying for the drinks can end up running into the thousands of dollars over a lifetime – DP], yet nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs,” the study’s abstract asks.

For that kind of money they should at least be able to train the snails to lead White House tours.

“Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs”? Seriously?

The Feds also included extra funding so researchers can figure out why snails travel faster than the government’s promised “bullet trains.”

Bonus item: In the last five years the government has spent over a million dollars on puppetry-related items. Maybe they put on a little show for the snails.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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