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*The Julianna Forlano Show *
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On Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 3:15 PM, Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

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> https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730313-500-semen-has-controlling-power-over-female-genes-and-behaviour/
>
> THIS WEEK <https://www.newscientist.com/article_type/this-week/>
>
>
> 22 July 2015
> Semen has controlling power over female genes and behaviour
> [image: Semen has controlling power over female genes and behaviour]
>
> Semen says turn those genes on *(Image: CNRI/SPL)*
>
> THERE’S more to semen than sperm. In many animals, seminal fluid alters
> both the bodies and sometimes even the behaviour of females. Human semen,
> too, triggers changes in the uterus, and might have wider effects on women,
> aimed at just one goal.
>
> “It’s all about maximising the chances of the male reproducing,” says
> Sarah Robertson of the University of Adelaide in Australia. The effects are
> most striking in fruit flies: seminal fluid can make the females eat more, lay
> more eggs
> <https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14820023-100-fruit-flies-go-to-work-on-an-egg> and
> beless receptive to other males
> <https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18424731-500-sleeping-around-boosts-evolution>
> .
>
> Now a team led by Tracey Chapman at the University of East Anglia in
> Norwich, UK, has found that male fruit flies selectively alter the chemical
> make-up of their seminal fluid. In the presence of rivals, the males
> produce more seminal proteins. “It came as a real surprise,” says Chapman.
> “It’s a sophisticated response to the social and sexual situation.”
>
> Some of their findings were presented at the Society for Molecular Biology
> and Evolution conference in Vienna, Austria, last week, including their
> discovery that one of these proteins is a “master regulator” of genes.
> Females exposed to it show a wide range of changes in gene expression.
>
> Chapman thinks this kind of seminal signalling is widespread in the animal
> world. The semen of people, pigs and mice affects the female reproductive
> tract, and the question is whether it can also produce behavioural
> responses in female mammals similar to those seen in fruit flies.
>
> There have been claims that semen can do everything from making women
> sleepy after sex to strengthening the emotional bond with their partner.
> One 2002 study, based on a survey of 300 students, even found that women
> whose partners did not use condoms scored lower on a measure of depression
> <https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17423490-400-feeling-good-youll-never-guess-why>
> .
>
> If that effect is real, depression in some people might be treatable with
> artificial-semen suppositories. Gordon Gallup of the State University of
> New York at Albany, who carried out the study, says a PhD student of his
> has replicated the finding in a survey of 1000 women, but the results were
> never published.
>
> In flies, seminal proteins can directly affect behaviour because they
> enter the circulatory system, travelling throughout the body to the brain.
> “They rapidly get to many places in the female,” Chapman says.
>
> From the female’s perspective, seminal signalling is usually nothing
> sinister. According to Chapman, it’s an efficient way of getting a female’s
> body ready to produce offspring as soon as possible.
>
> It’s not clear whether any components of human semen get into the
> bloodstream, but it could be possible, particularly for small molecules
> like hormones, says Robertson. She has shown that seminal fluid induces
> expression of a range of genes in the cervix, including ones that affect
> the immune system, ovulation, the receptivity of the uterus lining to an
> embryo, and even the growth of the embryo itself.
>
> As for seminal signalling, she thinks it’s more likely to be indirect,
> with semen causing the cervix to produce molecules that influence the rest
> of the body. Her team is studying the effect of three microRNAs – RNA
> fragments that affect gene expression – released by the cervix in response
> to semen.
>
> Whatever the mechanism, both Chapman and Robertson say it’s plausible that
> semen could have effects on women well beyond their reproductive tract.
>
> *This article appeared in print under the headline “Females heed seminal
> signals”*
>
> By *Michael Le Page*
>
> Magazine issue 3031 <https://www.newscientist.com/issue/3031/> published
> 25 July 2015
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