Biologists have genetically altered fruit flies so that they no longer produce pheromones, leading to their fellow insects becoming less discerning in their intimate endeavours.
Published in this week’s Nature, Joel Levine and his team genetically destroyed the cells that create the fruit flies’ sex scent. This led to orgy-bound chaos in the lab with the flies no longer knowing who to mate with. Unaltered males tried getting it on with their scentless male counterparts, whilst some normal male flies become enamoured with altered female flies of a completely different species.
The team found that it was just a single molecule that creates the normal chemical barrier allowing individual insects to know who is fair game when it comes to mating, “..the same chemical signals and genes are underlying not only social behaviour in groups, like courtship and mating, but also behaviour between species,” said Levine.
Whilst acknowledging that the human courting ritual is more complicated than the fruit flies’ Levine went on to say:
“…we may rely more on the visual system, and we may have a more complex way of assessing other individuals and classifying them and determining how we’re going to relate to them than a fly does. But what we’re looking at is a spectrum across biology of a tendency to understand how others relate to ourselves. “
Despite these findings I still can’t help think that no matter what Jodie Marsh smelt like, I still just wouldn’t.