HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
A sensory organ, not the brain, differentiates male and female behavior in some mammals

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- For years, scientists have searched in vain for slivers of the brain that might drive the dramatic differences between male and female behavior. Now biologists at Harvard University say these efforts may have fallen flat because such differences may not arise in the brain at all.

Rather, they say, the epicenter of sex-specific behavior in many species may be a small sensory organ found in the noses of all terrestrial vertebrates except higher primates. Their work, appearing this week in the journal Nature, indicates that defects in this organ, known as the vomeronasal organ, lead female mice to adopt male behaviors such as mounting and pelvic thrusting while abandoning female behaviors such as nesting and nursing.

"These results are flabbergasting," says Catherine Dulac, Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Nobody had imagined that a simple mutation like this could induce females to behave so thoroughly like males."

The results do not apply directly to humans, which lack a vomeronasal organ, but may open new avenues of investigation for research into sex-specific human behavior.

Dulac and co-authors Tali Kimchi and Jennings Xu studied female mice mutant in TRPC2, an ion channel whose absence disables the vomeronasal organ, which works along with the nose to detect pheromones.

They found that these females, when placed in a cage with a sexually experienced male, would engage in typically male courtship activity: chasing their cagemates, lifting the males' hindquarters with their snouts, and emitting complex ultrasonic vocalizations that are part of the male mouse's mating ritual. Eventually, the female mutants would replicate male sexual behavior by mounting the hapless males and thrusting.

The male mice responded with increasing aggression toward the mutant females,
'"/>

Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
5-Aug-2007


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Disabling a sensory organ prompts female mice to act like male mice
2. Carnegie Mellon University research shows how sensory-deprived brain compensates
3. Chemical signaling helps regulate sensory map formation in the brain
4. Change in neurons responsiveness marks newly formed sensory associations during learning
5. Bad aftertaste? New sensory on/off switch may cure bane of artificial sweetener search
6. Grasshopper love songs give insight into sensory tuning
7. Pediatric ritalin use may affect developing brain, new study suggests
8. Adult stem/progenitor cells repair of damaged brain, pancreas, kidney cells newly understood
9. Electronic chip, interacting with the brain, modifies pathways for controlling movement
10. Seals protect brain, conserve oxygen by turning off shivering response on icy dives
11. Unraveling Alzheimers: Clues may be found visualizing plaques in human brain, mad cowtype diseases

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/30/2017)... ARLINGTON, Va. , June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... a leading developer and supplier of face and ... the ATA Featured Product provider program. ... created an innovative way to monitor a driver,s ... benefit greatly from being able to detect fatigue ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... GENOA, Italy , May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic ... and trunk, has been officially launched in Genoa, Italy ... Europe and the USA . The ... launched on the market by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to ... view the Multimedia News Release, please click: ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... -- RAM Group , Singaporean based technology ... biometric authentication based on a novel  quantum-state ... perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on a ... Group and its partners. This sensor will have widespread ... security. Ram Group is a next generation sensor ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... a development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today ... of targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced today ... the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... home security market and how smart safety and security products impact the ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: ... "The residential security market has experienced ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions ... scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national ... Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been ... a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: