It has been well documented that, across human cultures and in most mammals, males are usually more aggressive and less nurturing than females. It’s simple to blame male hormones, like testosterone, for male behavior such as aggression. But maybe it’s in our genes, too.
Indeed such social behavior also has a genetic basis, according to new research on mice by neuroscientists at the University of Virginia Health System. “The differences in sex chromosomes, XX versus XY, are also responsible for differences in adult behavior,” explained Emilie Rissman, PhD, a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at UVa, who studied aggression and maternal behavior in genetically engineered mice. “Sex chromosome genes may not be the whole story that determines how aggressive or motherly we are, but they are a partof it.”
Rissman’s work is published in the Feb. 22 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, found online at www.jneurosci.org. Co-authors on the paper are scientists at the University of California Los Angeles and the National Institute for Medical Research in London, England.
Bob Beard | EurekAlert!
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