Mice are good for growing human ears and guiding your way to the bathroom at night. But what are gay mice good for? Science is about to tell us, as researchers have found that regulating the serotonin levels — or rather, the receptivity to serotonin — controls a mouse’s sexual orientation (or sexual preference, if you’re reading this BBC article). Ooooh, I’ve always wanted a gay pet!
In a new study published in the journal Nature, British scientists reveal:
The research team first bred male mice whose brains were not receptive to serotonin. A series of experiments demonstrated that these mice had lost the preference for females shown by unmodified males. When presented with a choice of partners, they showed no overall preference for either males or females. When just a male was introduced into the cage, the modified males were far more likely to mount the male and emit a “mating call” normally given off when encountering females than unmodified males were. Similar results were achieved when a different set of mice were bred. These lacked the tryptonphan hydroxylase 2 gene, which is needed to produce serotonin.
However, a preference for females could be “restored” by injecting serotonin into the brain. The report concludes: “Serotonergic signalling is crucial for male sexual preference in mice. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that a neurotransmitter in the brain has been demonstrated to be important in mammalian sexual preference.”
As we all know this technology will be used either to ensure parents give birth to gay children (because who wouldn’t want to raise a perfect human specimen?) or, you know, more likely, ensure parents absolutely do not. The good news is that a quick needle to the brain might one day be able to flip your switch should you ever need to get it up for the opposite sex. Straight-for-pay porn, anyone?