The sexual relationships of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster provide a good example of sensory-motor integration during social interactions. The neural and molecular substrates that allow males to perceive and court females are being deconstructed down to the single neuron thanks to the accuracy of Drosophila genetics . What about ladies, though? We don’t understand how females see, interpret, and respond to information conveyed by males during courtship. Three recent research have discovered genes and neurons that affect female receptivity during her response to male wooing, revealing the developmental origins and physiology of the neural circuitry that controls female mating decisions.
Understanding the female nerve system and behavior can provide a wealth of information. “Why are women… so much more interesting to men than men are to women?” Virginia Woolf once wondered in her article A Room of One’s Own. Because females serve as evolutionary gatekeepers of gene flow across species and because females choose males with the greatest genes for a given habitat, it’s likely that studying female mating decisions will reveal more sophisticated mechanisms than studying male mating decisions. Males are obviously interested in the more nuanced role of the female, and based on these research, we may all find it more engaging.
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