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July 29, 2010

Scientists create 'sexual tsunami'


Scientists at the University of Toronto found that by genetically tweaking fruit flies so they failed to produce a particular type of pheromone or odour, it turned them irresistible to their species.
Professor Joel Levine, who led the study, removed the cuticular hydrocarbon pheromone, used by the flies to communicate.

They discovered that when the pheromone was removed, it created a "sexual tsunami" where the bugs proved attractive to one another, regardless of sex. The research found that male fruit flies with no history of homosexuality attempted to mate with their pheromone-free males, according to the research published in journal Nature.
Even flies of a different species were interested, according to the research team.
"Lacking these chemical signals eliminated barriers to mating," Prof Levine said.
He conceded however that although pheromones play a key part in the human mating game, ours is far more complex than that of fruit flies.
"We may rely more on the visual system, and we may have a more complex way of assessing other individuals and classifying them and determining how we're going to relate to them than a fly does."

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