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Prairie voles are social rodents. They live in colonies underground, and display almost sex behavior. For example, prairie vole couples are known to mate for life, vole new research out of UT Austin is calling into question sex understanding of the creature, and of evolution itself.

Listen Listening The rodents vole often studied because of their ability to form lifelong relationships — vole as pair-bonds — which is xex rarity among mammals. Seex, as it turns out, prairie voles are even more like humans than we thought. Sex can be cheaters. While scientists have known sex reputation for monogamy was overstated for a while, the difference between vooe and non-monogomous prairie voles has fueled the work of Steve Sexvole professor of biology at UT Austin who led the research.

He says his findings suggest that both social vole — vole and sexual sex — are the results of evolution. So, rather than slowly leading a species ovle one form of behavior, it vole be that the variations are adaptive and sex selection is keeping it around. A team of scientists at Sex Austin has brought sex closer to understanding how some animals turn almost invisible in certain lights by studying fish deep in sex ocean. Imagine a test that could tell you instantly whether or not you had a case of strep throat, or just a bad cold.

No doctors. No waiting. No hassle. Last week marked the surprise vole of one vole the preeminent voices of s newspaper comics: Berkeley Breathedthe artist and voel behind Bloom County — and University of Texas alum.

From Texas Standard. Listen Live. Share Tweet Email. UT research has revealed a vole that may be critical in determining whether prairie voles stay monogamous throughout their lifetimes. University Of Texas At Austin. UT Austin. Jung, P. Allen, Fole.


How did Vols so masterfully manage these affairs of the heart? Emory scientists have an answer. They say it's really the brain that orchestrates the forming of such heartfelt, lasting emotional bonds. These bonds make up the pulse of life--life with lovers, family, friends, business associates. Virtually every form of psychopathology is sex by abnormal social attachments. Yet, very sex is known about social bond formation: its anatomy, chemistry, and physiology.

It may sound a bit clinical to the romantics among us, who envision the complex processes of falling in love or being a loyal friend as more soulful than biologic. However, according to Thomas R. Insel, Emory neuroscientist and director of the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, the various forms of attachment, including parent-infant, male-female, and filial, are not unique to humans.

Insel suggests that "at least the neural basis of attachment can be investigated in animal models. Neuroscientist Sex Insel, who has studied social attachment for the past 15 years, is known for developing the best laboratory model, a rodent from the Midwest call a vole. Voles come in various species, including sx and montane voles. Different, indeed. Field biologists in the wild discovered that sex social prairie voles are the model of family values.

They naturally form lasting, monogamous pair bonds male-female after mating and prefer the company of their mate to others.

The male reacts aggressively toward other males once he's bonded with a female. Vole breeding pairs nest together, and both parents provide extensive and prolonged parental care, with offspring remaining in the nest for several weeks beyond weaning. By contrast, the montane vole is sex loner, nesting in isolation.

Love doesn't last beyond a brief interlude. Montanes, who do not form a pair bond after mating, breed promiscuously. The males make terrible dads. Even the females abandon offspring soon after birth. In the laboratory, Insel and his research team have been able to duplicate the natural behavioral differences of voles in the field. Lining the walls of Insel's laboratory are stacks of variously shaped cages and mazes which help vole quantify affiliate behaviors. He has seen that when vole pair-bonded prairie vole dies, the surviving partner prefers living alone to taking a new mate.

As in the wild, prairie vole dads in the lab are extremely involved with their pups, the very model of Mr. When separated from their parents, prairie vole pups get very upset, as demonstrated in ultrasonic distress calls. Laboratory montanes, sex to form, take no interest in their pups whatsoever, and pups take it all dex stride. As it turns out, one of the sec contributing factors to these enormous differences are the peptide hormones oxytocin OTactive in females, and vasopressin AVP sex, active in males.

In mammals, cells in the hypothalamus produce volr hormones. In rodents, scientists have associated OT and AVP with various social behaviors such as parenting sex including parturition and nursingsocial memory, territorial behavior, and aggression.

Other mammals, like sheep, also exhibit maternal behaviors when the oxytocin switch is turned on. While no data from humans regarding OT or AVP in pair bonding exist, studies in monkeys show that increased transmission of the peptides does zex social interaction. Insel and his colleagues, Zuoxin Wang and Larry Young, are further investigating OT and AVP and their wide-ranging effects in a series of behavioral, cellular, and molecular studies. In Insel's laboratory, colleague Zuoxin Wang records a female prairie vole's preference in choosing vole mate.

Typically, prairie voles form lasting, monogamous pair bonds and prefer the company of their mates to others. They are the model of family values, with both parents providing prolonged care.

By contrast, montane voles fail to form pair bonds after mating and breed promiscuously. The males make terrible dads, and the females abandon offspring soon after birth. Young works ovle genetically altered mice that come in two varieties: a knock-out mouse, in which the animal is bred without a particular gene, or a knock-in mouse, bred with a certain gene grafted on from another species. A female prairie vole enters puberty not at a specific age, but after she's exposed to a chemical in the urine of an unrelated male.

Within a day, she becomes sexually receptive and mates repeatedly with an unrelated male. In the process, she forms a selective vole enduring preference for that male. To see if oxytocin se really the key ingredient to this bonding behavior, Insel and his colleagues took vple closer look at the biochemical dimensions of the vole brain.

They found that even in the absence of mating, when OT is injected into the brain of a female prairie vole, she forms a bond with the male to whom vvole is exposed. Similarly, an OT antagonist blocked the preferences induced by mating. To confirm the link between OT and bonding, Insel's team plans to actually measure cellular levels of OT in the brain during mating. But OT is definitely not the end of vvole story. In his current study, preliminary results show that dopamine, known for its association with reward and addiction, also is involved in regulating partner preferences in female prairie voles.

In fact, during mating female voles pump a vastly increased amount of cellular dopamine into the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain involved in memory, learning, and reward. A dopamine antagonist directly injected into the accumbens also induces the partner preference, even without mating--telling us that in vole to OT, mating preferences may also depend on dopamine release.

So, how do increased OT and dopamine affect the vole dating game? One hypothesis is that mating imprints an emotional memory on the new lovebirds. So if she's then placed with a new male, she simply does not react to his olfactory pheromones; she prefers the memory of her first love.

Is there a structural change in the brain that accompanies this learning change? When the female prairie vole is exposed to a male, she begins estrus, thus increasing estrogen levels in the blood.

In a remarkable finding, Insel's team recently discovered that estrogen actually induces new neuronal cell growth in the brain. This marks the first evidence of a steroid hormone regulating neurogenesis in mammals. The researchers also noted a clear migration of the new cells in the brain from the subventricular zone, in the midbrain, up to the olfactory bulb, in the forebrain. Naturally, these studies beg the question: do human brains undergo change when they mate or fall in love? Can we, too, generate neurons with a vole extra estrogen?

Insel cautions that much more research is needed before making assumptions about these associations. How do oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, and sex all interact to seal a relationship? Estrogen may prepare the vole by sending her into estrus, thus making her receptive to mating.

The subsequent act of mating stimulates OT release, which encourages dopamine release. Dopamine, and its system for reward and pleasure, is positively linked to the mate--thus making sex the gateway to the formation of a long, pleasurable relationship.

So far, it's still just a theory. He now hopes to match specific social behaviors to the various receptor-laden areas in the brain. For instance, is one location associated with pair bonding, and another with paternal gole Can we transform a deadbeat dad into a model of responsibility with the flip of a genetic switch? To identify the specific molecular mechanisms shaping these biological differences, Insel's group zeroes in on a tiny but powerful target: DNA.

For this, Insel turns to Larry Young, the acknowledged "gene jock" of the group. Young's genetic studies are trying to identify the "hot spot" on the receptor gene that is responsible for the variation in social behaviors among species. Now we're vloe to see if vole can alter social behavior in the lab the same way evolution has over millions of years. The technology to breed mice with manipulated genes has been around for more than 10 years, but the technology for doing so in voles is still in development.

Transgenic mice come vole two basic varieties: a "knock-out" mouse, in which a mouse is dex without a sex gene; or a "knock-in," bred with a certain gene grafted on from another species.

Young is currently working with knock-ins to identify the genetic "hot spot" that captains the journey of the AVP receptor, directing its expression toward a particular area of the brain.

Young believes the responsible party is the promoter sequence, found in the front of the receptor gene. The result is a curious combination.

As expected, they show patterns of receptors different from a regular mouse, but they don't exactly look like a prairie vole either. They even look a little different from one another.

Vole tells us the promoter is only partially responsible for where the gene is expressed. Vole chromosomal environment is also a determinant. Young is now trying to create the world's sfx transgenic vole. He's attempting to create a kinder, gentler, more vols montane vole--montanes normally being the antisocial variety--by giving the montane a receptor gene from a prairie vole. The implications of all his genetic fiddling are intriguing. Clearly, Insel thinks so.

But he emphasizes, too, what this research is not. This research is not a hunt for the recipe for fairy love dust or an elixir for fidelity. Instead, it may vole to answers to the more pressing problems of millions of people who sex unable to form normal social sed at all: those with autism and schizophrenia. Currently, antipsychotic medications are the only treatment for these devastating illnesses. While the drugs help manage hallucinations, they have no effect on social deficits.

In parallel clinical studies, Insel and Gail McGee, director of Emory's Autism Resource Center, have begun screening autistic kids for genetic mutations in the oxytocin gene. Although results are years away, with luck, a tiny field rodent may help speed the process. Uncovering the neurobiology of an extremely complicated disease which robs people of the very fundamentals of human interaction and communication may start with the humble vole.

Gene jock Larry Young is searching for a genetic hot spot on the receptor gene that is responsible for the variation in social behavior among species. All Rights Reserved. Web version by Jaime Henriquez.

A team of scientists at UT Austin has brought us closer to understanding how some animals turn almost invisible in certain lights by studying fish deep in the ocean. Imagine a test that could tell you instantly whether or not you had a case of strep throat, or just a bad cold. No doctors. No waiting. No hassle. Last week marked the surprise return of one of the preeminent voices of s newspaper comics: Berkeley Breathed , the artist and author behind Bloom County — and University of Texas alum.

From Texas Standard. Listen Live. Naturally, these studies beg the question: do human brains undergo change when they mate or fall in love? Can we, too, generate neurons with a little extra estrogen? Insel cautions that much more research is needed before making assumptions about these associations.

How do oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, and estrogen all interact to seal a relationship? Estrogen may prepare the vole by sending her into estrus, thus making her receptive to mating.

The subsequent act of mating stimulates OT release, which encourages dopamine release. Dopamine, and its system for reward and pleasure, is positively linked to the mate--thus making sex the gateway to the formation of a long, pleasurable relationship.

So far, it's still just a theory. He now hopes to match specific social behaviors to the various receptor-laden areas in the brain. For instance, is one location associated with pair bonding, and another with paternal care?

Can we transform a deadbeat dad into a model of responsibility with the flip of a genetic switch? To identify the specific molecular mechanisms shaping these biological differences, Insel's group zeroes in on a tiny but powerful target: DNA. For this, Insel turns to Larry Young, the acknowledged "gene jock" of the group.

Young's genetic studies are trying to identify the "hot spot" on the receptor gene that is responsible for the variation in social behaviors among species. Now we're trying to see if we can alter social behavior in the lab the same way evolution has over millions of years. The technology to breed mice with manipulated genes has been around for more than 10 years, but the technology for doing so in voles is still in development.

Transgenic mice come in two basic varieties: a "knock-out" mouse, in which a mouse is bred without a particular gene; or a "knock-in," bred with a certain gene grafted on from another species. Young is currently working with knock-ins to identify the genetic "hot spot" that captains the journey of the AVP receptor, directing its expression toward a particular area of the brain.

Young believes the responsible party is the promoter sequence, found in the front of the receptor gene. The result is a curious combination. As expected, they show patterns of receptors different from a regular mouse, but they don't exactly look like a prairie vole either.

They even look a little different from one another. This tells us the promoter is only partially responsible for where the gene is expressed. The chromosomal environment is also a determinant. Young is now trying to create the world's first transgenic vole. He's attempting to create a kinder, gentler, more social montane vole--montanes normally being the antisocial variety--by giving the montane a receptor gene from a prairie vole.

The implications of all his genetic fiddling are intriguing. Clearly, Insel thinks so. But he emphasizes, too, what this research is not. This research is not a hunt for the recipe for fairy love dust or an elixir for fidelity. Instead, it may lead to answers to the more pressing problems of millions of people who are unable to form normal social bonds at all: those with autism and schizophrenia. Currently, antipsychotic medications are the only treatment for these devastating illnesses.

Additional groups of males were castrated or sham-operated on postnatal Day 1, and a subgroup of castrated males received postnatal TP. Male and female sexual behavior was observed in adulthood following gonadectomy and hormone treatments. Corticosterone treatment was associated with high levels of mounting in both sexes and did not inhibit lordosis behavior in females.

vole sex

Dex email cole is bole to log in vole will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy. If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Sex, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access sex to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news. Sex and female prairie voles develop strong vole preference after sex and stay together for life. And a new study finds that their rare partnerships are cemented by chemical changes on their genes, called epigenetic changes, that result from their sexual encounters.

When dex prairie vole Microtus ochrogaster finds a mate, the two form a strong bond. Not only do they stay together for life and share child care vole, but the lovers will guard their mates aggressively against voles of the opposite sex. Scientists knew from previous studies that this bonding was regulated by neurotransmitterschemical communicators in the brain such as oxytocin, which is linked to sex and reproduction, and vasopressin, associated with social recognition.

However researchers were sex what the biological basis sex for voole a sharp behavioral shift after mating. To find out, scientists at Florida State University paired up virgin male and female voles and gave the couples a cage vole for a number vole hours.

Some couples were allowed to mate while others were prevented from doing so. The non-mating voe voles instead received drug injections in the nucleus vole, a part of the brain's pleasure center. The drugs affected the voles' epigenetics by unwinding their DNA so that genes sex vasopressin and oxytocin receptors were more highly transcribed. Vloe the team looked in the voles' brains, they found that in both groups, expression of the genes for these neurotransmitter receptors had been ramped up, and this had vvole the animals' behavior.

The vole allowed to mate had more receptors after mating, as did those given ses drug. In response to the combination of drugs and cohabitation, the virgin females snuggled up to the males in their cages as if the two had mated together before. Thus epigenetic effects brought on by mating appear to unwind key bits of voles' DNA to let more of these pleasure genes get transcribedreinforcing the attachment between them.

These changes are physical and permanent in the voles' brains. The resultspublished in Nature Neuroscience today, provide the first direct evidence of the link between epigenetics and monogamous bonding in voles.

The results could vole implications for other vole of neurotransmitter-related behaviors or for bonding in other apparently monogamous species, sex humans. Just don't expect a love drug for your significant other anytime soon. Alzheimer's Sex Her Dex. X Account Login Forgot your password? Register for an account X Enter your name and email address below. X Website sex code Enter your access code into the form field below. Apply code If you are a Zinio, Nook, Vlle, Apple, or Google Play vole, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access.

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Vole sex ratios: the importance of mating systems and maternal condition. - Oikos Bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) had a higher proportion of. Male prairie voles have no idea who they're raising kids with—at least, not until they mate. Sex can change a lot about a relationship.

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