A parasitic fish-lampreys have helped scientists to understand, how did the sex pheromones, and why the smell of men makes women think about sex.
Their findings were published in the journal PLoS Biology. The experts found that the milt of lampreys contain spermine, a very potent pheromone, attracting the attention of only those females that are ready to reproduce.
“We managed to open a new strategy that males use to attract the attention of females and alert them about what’s nearby partners,” said Anna Scott from the University of Michigan.
Genetics found in the DNA of lampreys particular gene, the evolution of which allowed our ancestors to acquire a skull and complex brain.
Scott and her colleagues found that some sex pheromones are present in humans, appeared during the early days of the first vertebrates, watching the “family life” of lampreys.
Despite the primitive device and anatomy, lamprey have a fairly unusual and complex mating traditions. During the breeding season, each male arrives on the breeding ground and builds a kind of nest, which he guards from attacks of competitors and where he’s trying to lure the females.
Women of the opposite sex, in turn, “inspect” those structures, choose males together fertilized the walls, which can reach up to several tens of thousands of eggs. After completion of the breeding season and several other matings they die, to make room for a new generation of lampreys.
American biologists have discovered in the seminal fluid of these fish are a huge number of familiar substances which we discovered in human semen back in the late 17th century. We are talking about spermine, a short organic molecule, which gives semen its characteristic odor and also protects the sperm DNA from damage when hitting a woman’s genitals.
This compound, as shown by subsequent experiments in female lampreys, indeed radically changed their behavior if they were ready to breed, forcing them to swim in the aquarium, where scientists poured a solution of it. While it did not affect males and immature females.
Opening this unusual property of spermine, the researchers tested what would happen if you block the receptors that recognize signal molecules of this substance. As a result, females become completely insensitive to it, but respond to other pheromones that produce gills of males in the breeding season.
Given the fact that the substance is present in the seminal fluid of a man, his detection Molokai lampreys indicates, how did the sex pheromones of vertebrates creatures and what function they originally served.