Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neurotransmitters linked to mating behavior are shared by mammals and worms

Date:
October 29, 2012
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
When it comes to sex, animals of all shapes and sizes tend behave in predictable ways. There may be a chemical reason for that. New research has shown that chemicals in the brain -- neuropeptides known as vasopressin and oxytocin -- play a role in coordinating mating and reproductive behavior in animals ranging from humans to fish to invertebrates.

Bad sex. By quantifying the amount of time that worms took to complete several individual mating steps, scientists have demonstrated that individuals lacking the nematocin peptide have poor “reproductive efficiencies.”
Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University

When it comes to sex, animals of all shapes and sizes tend behave in predictable ways. There may be a chemical reason for that. New research from Rockefeller University has shown that chemicals in the brain -- neuropeptides known as vasopressin and oxytocin -- play a role in coordinating mating and reproductive behavior in animals ranging from humans to fish to invertebrates.

Related Articles


"Our research shows that molecules similar to vasopressin and oxytocin have an ancient and evolutionarily conserved role in controlling a critical social behavior, mating," says Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior. "This work suggests that these molecules encode the same kind of information in the brains of very different animals."

Bargmann, whose laboratory studies the relationship between genes, neural circuits and behavior in the C. elegans roundworm, says vasopressin and oxytocin have been implicated in a variety of reproductive and social behaviors in humans and other mammals, including pair bonding, maternal bonding and aggressive and affiliative behaviors. Mice that lack oxytocin may develop social amnesia, and humans who sniff oxytocin through an inhaler change their cooperative behavior in computer games, behaving as though they "trust" other players more.

Bargmann's team, led by postdoc Jennifer Garrison, identified a peptide and two receptors in C. elegans worms that were similar to the mammalian oxytocin/vasopressin signaling system. Male worms that were engineered to lack this peptide, dubbed nematocin, were clumsy sexual partners.

"Although they could perform the motor aspects of mating, their sequences were inefficient, disorganized and repetitious," says Garrison. "Only a fraction of males lacking the peptide were able to complete mating by transferring sperm within five minutes of first contacting a partner, a time in which normal worms are usually successful."

Males lacking nemotocin or its receptors also spent less time looking for mates, as though they were less motivated to find partners.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. L. Garrison, E. Z. Macosko, S. Bernstein, N. Pokala, D. R. Albrecht, C. I. Bargmann. Oxytocin/Vasopressin-Related Peptides Have an Ancient Role in Reproductive Behavior. Science, 2012; 338 (6106): 540 DOI: 10.1126/science.1226201

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "Neurotransmitters linked to mating behavior are shared by mammals and worms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029100630.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2012, October 29). Neurotransmitters linked to mating behavior are shared by mammals and worms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029100630.htm
Rockefeller University. "Neurotransmitters linked to mating behavior are shared by mammals and worms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121029100630.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Judge OKs 65-Year Deal Over NFL Concussions

Judge OKs 65-Year Deal Over NFL Concussions

AP (Apr. 23, 2015) A judge has approved a potential $1 billion plan to resolve thousands of NFL concussion lawsuits filed by retired players. The NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players to suffer from Alzheimer&apos;s disease or moderate dementia someday.(April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Research Says Complex Tools Might Not Be 'Our Thing' Anymore

Newsy (Apr. 21, 2015) The use of complex tools has often been seen as a defining characteristic of humanity, but that notion is now in question. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins