June 26th, 2004


(no subject)

My Best Friend is dtaylor
Our 16 common interests are: alan moore, anarchy, atkins, comics, dave mckean, discordia, fight club, films, neil gaiman, nihilism, optimism, robert anton wilson, sandman, terry gilliam, transmetropolitan, writing
Who is your best friend?
Created by macoto

(no subject)

Single Gene causes massive difference in fidelity here. (Well, in lots of places, but that's one of the clearer write-ups)

Meadow voles have sex with a single female and then move on, preferring to mate with voles they haven't seen before.
Prairie voles mate for life and are monogamous.

Research showed that prairie voles had higher levels of vasopressin, so researchers took the gene for vasopressin receptors and placed it in the ventral palladium (part of the 'reward center' of the brain) of a group of meadow voles. They found that the meadow voles were then massively more likely to pair monogamously and spend much more time with them, even when they were presented with the chance to mate elsewhere.

"What we did was re-create what the prairie voles have," said co-author Larry Young, a researcher at Emory. "If they don't have that receptor, they still learn that mating feels good, but they don't care which female it is."

Young said it is believed that the vasopressin receptor allows voles to associate the smell of their mate with the rewarding feeling that comes with mating.

Might that also apply to people?

"I don't think we would ever want to do gene therapy to make people become more monogamous," he said. "That's a person's free will."

Still, he conceded, "Theoretically, you might alter their behavior."

Other research suggests that vasopressin receptors may be implicated in human disorders, such as autism, that involve the inability to form social bonds.

Young said it is possible that individual differences in vasopressin receptors might affect how people form relationships, although culture and environment undoubtedly play a major role as well.

The researchers also noted the similarity between romantic behavior and drug addiction.

"The brain process of bonding with one's partner may be similar to becoming addicted to drugs," co-author Miranda Lim, an Emory researcher, said in a statement. "Both activate reward circuits in the brain."

How long before people start blaming their infidelity on low vasopressin levels?

It's already happened
a week
a year
anyone smart enough to know what vasopressin is is too smart to fall for that