In what was more or less an accident, researchers discovered that not only to mice have taste receptors in their testicles, debilitating them renders the mice infertile.
In what was more or less an accident, researchers from Monell Chemical Senses Center discovered that not only do mice have taste receptors in their testicles, debilitating them renders the mice infertile.
The scientist who stumbled upon that tidbit was trying to breed mice that were missing two particular genes that provide the ability to taste sweet and savory. These genes are present in the sperm and testicles.
After more than a few unsuccessful attempts at making mouse babies, he did some tweaking and found that once the taste abilities were restored, so were the reproductive ones.
The researchers admit they have no idea why this happens or what the receptors are even doing in mouse testicles.
Last year another researcher from Monell discovered that the semen of mice is able to detect bitter flavors. Further, it responds to them by producing more calcium.
The taste studies mark significant contributions to how taste may be related to reproduction.
Potential avenues for further research include treating infertility, creating a male birth control pill, and assisting in populating species with notoriously low birth rates.