The pheromone protein that attracts female mice to the odor of a male has been identified and named darcin after the hero of “Pride and Prejudice”, Mr Darcy. Individual pheromones in invertebrates usually have a single specific role, but mammalian pheromones exude a range of information.
UK researchers have now demonstrated that darcin triggers sexual attraction but also conditions the female’s memory to the scent of the specific male. This ‘darcin effect’ offers a new system for investigating the neural basis of individual-specific memories in the brains of social mammals.
- Darcin: a male pheromone that stimulates female memory and sexual attraction to an individual male’s odor
S. Roberts, D. Simpson, S. Armstrong, A. Davidson, D. Robertson et al.,
BMC Biol. 2010, 8, 75.