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Genetic Switches Behind 'Love' Identified In Prairie Voles 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the beady-eye-of-the-beholder dept.
ananyo writes "Researchers have shown for the first time that the act of mating induces permanent chemical modifications in the chromosomes (epigenetic changes), affecting the expression of genes that regulate sexual and monogamous behavior in prairie voles. Prairie voles have long been of interest to neuroscientists and endocrinologists who study the social behavior of animals, in part because this species forms monogamous pair bonds — essentially mating for life. The voles' pair bonding, sharing of parental roles and egalitarian nest building in couples makes them a good model for understanding the biology of monogamy and mating in humans (abstract)."
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Genetic Switches Behind 'Love' Identified In Prairie Voles

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  • by dragon-file (2241656) on Monday June 03, 2013 @12:32PM (#43897107)

    The voles' pair bonding, sharing of parental roles and egalitarian nest building in couples makes them a good model for understanding the biology of monogamy and mating in humans

    A good model for ideal human behavior, sure, but actual behavior?!? One wonders if the researchers have met any actual human couples.

    Of course they haven't met actually human couples. They're researchers.

  • NIMH (Score:5, Funny)

    by Antipater (2053064) on Monday June 03, 2013 @12:35PM (#43897143)

    "This is a study I myself wanted to do years ago,” says Thomas Insel, who heads the US National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. “...This study for me really is the first experimental demonstration that the epigenetic change would be necessary for the long-term change in behaviour.”

    Insel continued. "Unfortunately, due to a scandalous bit of contrived fiction, we here at NIMH have been prohibited from doing this kind of work for decades. Every attempt to work on a rodent model is sabotaged, with a Frisbee left at the scene and the words 'REMEMBER NICODEMUS' spray-painted on the wall. Police never found a suspect, and eventually Congress pulled the funding. Hopefully our colleagues at Florida State can continue this valuable work without such interference!"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 03, 2013 @12:56PM (#43897457)

    By definition, no. Any mistakes perceived by the vole would be removed by the chemical modifications.

    Praire voles have permanent beer-goggles.

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