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Self & mate sex-identity in the brain

Anthonie Muller awjm at holyrood.ed.ac.uk
Thu May 15 10:02:40 EST 1997

On 15 May 1997, Zvi Atzmon , dvl wrote:

> I suppose somewhere and somehow in the (human) brain there is a sign, an
> imprint, saying someone is male/female, so someone's desired mate is
> (usually) female/male respectively. Is it true? Are there experimental
> proofs?
> Where in the brain an imprint of this sort exists? When is it established
> - embryonic period?
> What are the imprinting mechanisms? Hormones? Y-linked and/or X-linked
> genes acting directly in "sex identity center"-cells of the brain? Others?
> What are the parameters of preferred mate identity: visual? vocal?
> chemicals? If visual - forms? movements? texture?
> Many Thanks!
> Zvi Atzmon
> Life Sciences Dep., David Yellin College, Jerusalem

Hi Zvi

A similar problem occurs in sociobiology, where it is assumed that
organisms can check out the degree of relatedness of other organisms. I
wondered what the physical mechanism could be, and one mechanism could be
smell. I believe, but, I am not sure, that there is also some experimental
evidence of this.

Male/female recognition could similarly function by smell. 

By the way, just last week I saw a posting on the function of exchange of
chemicals by saliva, which I would call kissing. That may be also relevant
for this all.

Anyway, smell may be the way to signal the data to which you refer.

How these data (male/female self-recognition, resp. kinship recognition)
are stored is of course a big question that as far as I know has not been 
resolved yet. 

I wonder whether anyone else has any ideas?

Anthonie Muller

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