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Researchers from the University of Utah studying the pheromone production of mice found that male mice with mothers in sexually promiscuous environments were more attractive to other female mice.
Researchers from the University of Utah studying the pheromone production of mice found that male mice were more attractive to other female mice if their mothers had engaged in sexually promiscuous environments.
But the more attractive male mice reportedly lived shorter lives than the less attractive mice birthed by monogamous mothers.
80 percent of the monogamous mother’s sons lived through the duration of the experiment, compared with only 48 percent of the promiscuous mother’s male offspring.
Mice use pheromones in their urine to attract mates, and male mice in the study produced more pheromones if their mothers were competing for mates.
The opposite was true of promiscuous fathers, who had offspring that produced 5 percent less pheromones than mice with monogamous fathers.
Co-author of the study, Professor Wayne Potts from the University of Utah said: “Production of pheromones is outrageously expensive. A single mouse's investment in pheromone production compares with the investment that ten male peacocks make in the production of their tails, which also are used to attract females.”
The study falls into the category of epigenetics, which looks at how different parental traits influence the genetics of their children.