Male brains are programmed to choose sex over food

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Would you choose a hamburger over sex? If you are male, you will more than likely opt for the latter.

New research suggests that a man’s brain is programmed to favour sex over food.

Scientists made use of a species of microscopic roundworms, called C.elegans, and found that when given the option, the male worms shifted their focus to finding a mate instead of looking for food.

During this study, a group of worms that had been ‘genetically engineered’ to be hungry experienced ten times less success when mating because they wanted to remain close to their food source.

C.elegans roundworms can be found in two sexes – a male and a self-fertilising hermaphrodite organism. There is no female in the species, so it is not possible for the findings to be regarded as conclusive. The hermaphrodite organisms had a different response to the males.

The lead author of the study, assistant Professor Douglas Portman, from the University of Rochester, said that they are aware that human behaviour is affected by a range of factors, including social and cultural norms, but their findings point to basic biological mechanisms which may not only help in explaining some of the differences in behaviour in men and women, but also why different sexes are more susceptible to particular neurological disorders.

He said this evidence adds to a massive amount of evidence that sex-specific regulation of gene expression could play a vital role in neural plasticity and may influence the different behaviours and disease susceptibility in the sexes.

Image Credit: Mike Licht

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