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Minus one gene, male mouse is Mr. Mom

Instead of killing mouse pups, he makes a nest and gets the pups cozy.

WASHINGTON — November 19 was the last day of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, which was attended by about 31,000 people.

The day’s highlights include a mouse study showing that one gene can make a difference in gender-based behavior. And a genetic study in humans suggests two genes could play a role in creative ability. A study of rat moms showed long-term cognitive benefits from motherhood, and another study in rats suggests that blinking is anything but random.

The goose becomes the gander, and vice versa

Male mice abandon their homicidal tendencies to become doting parents and accomplished homemakers when a gene is removed from the region of the brain that detects pheromones, new research shows.

Most animals have sex-specific behavior, and male mice are no exception. They make male-specific grunts, they attempt to mate with nearby females and, worst of all, they commit infanticide.

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