Skip to comments.Love rat tamed with a single gene (HELP FOR CLINTON?)
Posted on 06/17/2004 10:35:40 PM PDT by MadIvan
All it needs is a single gene to make the promiscuous meadow vole change its ways (Image: U.S. National Park Service)
They changed the behaviour of the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus, by implanting a single gene into its genome, and reported their results in the current issue of the journal Nature.
This playboy of the grasslands thinks nothing about mating with several females at one time and leaving them to rear his offspring while he wanders off in search of his next conquest.
But the meadow vole's cousin, the prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) is a model of fidelity.
After mating, the male prairie vole sticks close to his partner, protects her jealously and looks after the little ones after they are born.
This is such a rare thing in nature, fewer than 5% of male mammals are monogamous, that the prairie vole has become a celebrity in biology labs.
Previous studies have shown that its brain is studded with receptors for the hormone vasopressin, which seems to encourage pair-bonding.
Intrigued by this, researchers led by Miranda Lim and Larry Young at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, implanted a gene for the V1a receptor in question in the brains of the promiscuous meadow voles.
They tucked the gene into a harmless virus that delivered the V1a gene to the ventral pallidum region of the voles' brains.
Lothario behaviour lost
What happened next was dramatic.
Once, the voles were Don Juans forever on the cruise. Now, they had a chosen partner, and would only ever mate with her.
Even when temptresses came by and flaunted their voley charms, the genetically-modified males only had eyes for that one partner.
The study theorises that when the modified meadow vole has sex, his brain release vasopressin, which is picked up by the V1a receptors.
They, in turn, unleash serotonin, a feel-good" hormone, to flood the brain.
Put together, it means the vole associates the feeling of reward when he has sex with this specific mate, and does not want to prejudice that sensation by having sex with others, according to this notion.
In a commentary in the same issue of the journal, U.S. anthropologist Melvin Konner, said the work helped strengthens theories that an "organic subculture", our genes and the chemicals they produce, lies at the root of the psychology of relationships.
That theory is bitterly contested by sociologists, who say social forces and environmental influences are the primary moulds that condition human bonds.
"We are a long way from a commitment pill, but perhaps closer to a neurology of romance," said Konner.
"We do not yet know if a similar system helps explain male attachment in non human primates, much less humans. But a medicine that might someday be offered to certain men is an interesting prospect."
Where morality fails there's chemistry....
That is probably the funniest line in a more or less serious article I have read in a long time.
Hmmmmmmm seems this might be helpful to alot of people.......
She's no vole. She be a shrew....
Well I don't know, make all the Clinton/Vole/Dole jokes you want, this sounds like something out of Brave New World to me.
I'm sure each of us has some flaw or sin of which our betters would like to rid us.
Macrotus arkansicus might need three and a Vac/Pump.
There is no help for Bill Clinton.
Hilary likes the marriage just the way it is!