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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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ScienceShot: The Secrets of the 'Goaty Smell'
27 February 2014 12:00 pm
Spend any time in a barnyard and you’ll notice that male goats produce a characteristic “goaty smell” that repels humans, but attracts does. Through a phenomenon called the “male effect,” just the presence of a male sends females into heat. Scientists had long suspected that bucks emit a pheromone to turn on does’ reproductive systems, and they’ve finally found the active ingredient. By using a specially made gas-absorbing cap, the researchers collected scent compounds from the heads of male goats and compared them with compounds from castrated ones. They isolated individual chemicals and then tested whether they stimulated a response when females took a whiff. The compound 4-ethyloctanal starts a hormonal chain reaction in the female’s brain, which triggers ovulation, researchers report online today in Current Biology. When exposed to air, 4-ethyloctanal converts to 4-ethyloctanoic acid, which makes that “goaty odor.” So males can attract females and turn them on using the same compound.