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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Sexy Snake Skin
9 February 2012 2:29 pm
For red-sided garter snakes, beauty is literally skin deep. Sex pheromones wafting from a female's skin drive males crazy, but how they work has long been a mystery. In a new study, researchers implanted estrogen capsules near the testes of male snakes to mimic the location of the hormone's production in females. Then the team allowed unaltered males to choose between scent trails of altered males, large and small females, unaltered males, and she-males (unaltered males that naturally emit small amounts of female pheromones). The scientists found that altered males and large females were equally attractive to unaltered males and that their pheromone blends were identical, the team reports in The Journal of Experimental Biology. The authors suspected estrogen played a key role, and by implanting males with hormone capsules, researchers avoided confounding influences from female physiology and confirmed their suspicions. The results are worrisome, the team notes, because estrogen-like pollutants could disrupt normal mating activities if they induced males to smell like females in the wild.
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