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‘Happy chemical’ may affect sexual preference: study

A lack of serotonin, a chemical substance known to affect a person’s mood, may affect sexual preference in mice, a new study by Chinese scholars suggested.

Yi Rao of Peking University in Beijing and his colleagues conducted a study where they genetically engineered female mice so that they could not make or respond to serotonin.

The researchers found that the mutated mice preferred female genital odor over that of male and generally preferred females over males as their mating partners.

“We demonstrate that a genetic manipulation reverses sexual preference without involving sex hormones. Our results indicate that serotonin controls sexual preference,” researchers wrote.

Neuroscientist Simon LeVay of Stanford University told the media that there is a possibility that serotonin system is among a series of signals interacting with the sex hormone mechanism.

“Serotonin systems may be part of the cascade of signals that translate sex hormone levels during development into sexual partner preference in adulthood,” LeVay said.

The research was published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Science.

The Korea Herald