March 25, 2011

Brain Chemical Makes Male Mice to turn Gay

MouseNew research in China has shown that levels of certain chemicals in the brains of male mice reduce their preference for female sexual partners.

Researchers at Beijing’s National Institute of Biological Sciences have said this is the first time a neurotransmitter has shown evidence to changing sexual preference in mammals. 

The series of experiments showed that mice that were not receptive to serotonin were far more likely to mount another male and emit a mating call, than unmodified males.

This however was restored when serotonin was injected into the brain, thus giving the males a higher preference for females.

Sexual behaviour in mice is thought to be partly driven by sense of smell, mice in the study would sing mating calls for both males and females after sniffing their scent.

Serotonin increase in the brain has also been shown to have a defect in sexual appetite for humans, particularly those taking anti depressant drugs such as Prozac or Zoloft.

Professor Keith Kendrick, neuroscientist at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, said: “At this time any potential links between serotonin and human sexual preferences must be considered somewhat tenuous.”

The research was published in international science journal Nature.

by James Deacon

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