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The Scent of Jealousy! Interview with Meghan on mate-guarding behavior!!

Press / Media: Research

28/08/2012

You know of Hollywood plots where a man comes smelling of another woman, and his wife suspects him of cheating on her. The woman is relying on olfactory cues for keeping a tab on the guy's sexual behavior. Does this soap-opera behavior also occur in other species? Is smell used as a tool to guard against promiscuous behavior??

Meghan and her colleagues try to tease apart such behavior in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. They see that the male deposits specific scents on the female's body and inside her reproductive tract. Both these olfactory cues decrease the female's attractiveness to future mating partners. This increases the chances of the male's sperm fertilizing the female. The female, on the other hand, might actively try to remove these marking scent in order to continuing mating, which gives her eggs better to survive. To know more about this exciting arms race between the sexes, please listen to Meghan!

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