0000010453 00000 n Scientists believe the promiscuous meadow voles lack these vasopressin receptors. 0000001115 00000 n �@X �b. 0000003658 00000 n 0000002006 00000 n The vasopressin protein is released in the brain after sex and is involved in pair bonding. They have short tails, hidden ears and small round eyes. 0000001533 00000 n They warned the effect of a single gene should not be exaggerated in controlling complex social interactions, saying it formed part of a social and biological network which determine human relationships. A team from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, isolated a gene present in the prairie vole, a species known for its loyalty to a single partner, and injected it into their notoriously promiscuous cousin, the meadow vole. Dr Young's colleague, Miranda Lim, said: "The process of bonding with one's partner may be similar to becoming addicted to drugs. 0000005893 00000 n The experimental meadow voles also spent more time with their pups and less time grooming themselves, the researchers said in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. If you block it, you block the strong bonds between prairie couples. Start your Independent Premium subscription today. This is due to signs of quicker development in the pups, with the father’s aid in rearing. Yes. Are you sure you want to delete this comment? CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices. In the prairie voles, they're concentrated in areas that produce feelings of pleasure and reward. Researchers in Atlanta used a virus to transfer the vasopressin receptor gene from prairie voles into their meadow cousins. Are you sure you want to mark this comment as inappropriate? Promiscuous male meadow voles turned monogamous after a gene was transferred into their brains, scientists say. In addition, it appears that pups raised by both parents is advantageous to the pups. For centuries, the difference between a bed-hopping Casanova and a dull but devoted spouse has been considered a matter of moral choice. Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile. 0000000951 00000 n Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates. The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Larry Young, who led the team, said: "Our study provides evidence, in a comparatively simple animal model, that changes in the activity of a single gene can change a fundamental social behaviour of animals within species. Want an ad-free experience?Subscribe to Independent Premium. The study showed how changing the activity of a single gene can change the social behaviour in a simple animal model, said study co-author Larry Young of the department of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Emory University. Previous research suggested vasopressin receptors may play a role in disorders of the ability to form social bonds, such as autism. 0000006938 00000 n 0000003635 00000 n 0000004778 00000 n "If the [vasopressin receptors] are indeed the adjustable nozzle atop a social-glue dispenser in the mammalian brain, these results could have wider significance for understanding social behaviour," wrote psychologist Evan Balaban of Montreal's McGill University. 0000001511 00000 n The secret of love: promiscuous voles point to a gene for monogamy, You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully, Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable, Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties, We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification. Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Create a commenting name to join the debate, There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts, There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts. The result was that the meadow voles switched their amorous instincts from nest hopping to steadfast monogamy. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. 0000008066 00000 n Closed Captioning and Described Video is available for many CBC shows offered on CBC Gem. This makes such vole species even faster to reproduce and overpopulate an area. Scientists knew the ventral forebrains of prairie voles had higher levels of vasopressin receptors compared to meadow voles. This quick reproduction cycle is while a lot of male voles are not monogamous. The role of the "love gene" is linked to a hormone in the brain, called vasopressin, which controls the sense of pleasure. 0000005915 00000 n Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. Not any more. Voles are bigger than mice, smaller than rats. Both activate reward circuits in the brain.". Promiscuous male meadow voles turned monogamous after a gene was transferred into their brains, scientists say. They breed quickly and readily in the laboratory and You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment. 0000002412 00000 n Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines. The Monogamy Gene In the study, researchers used a harmless virus to transfer the gene from monogamous male prairie voles, who are known to form lifelong bonds with a … The main difference between the monogamous prairie voles and the love 'em-and-leave 'em Montane voles isn't in how much vasopressin they have, but in the exact location of the cells that respond to vasopressin in the brain. 0000008194 00000 n monogamous prairie and pine (Microtus pinetorum) voles, to more polygynous species, such as meadow (Microtus pennsyi- vanicus) and montane (Microtus montanus) voles (33). Most scientists believe th… Meadow voles are the most common vole species in the United States. In other species, however, such as the meadow vole which much more often bothers homeowners and farmers, the males are promiscuous and leave the female’s side to go mate again as quickly as possible. 0000011543 00000 n 0000002389 00000 n They breed rapidly and experience population booms every few years, which leads population densities to measure in the hundreds of voles per single acre of land. Oxytocin and vasopressin are not used exclusively to make voles more or less monogamous. They found the formerly promiscuous rodents spent more time cuddling with their current partners rather than with new females, compared to control animals.
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