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Scientists have identified the neural pathway in male fruit flies that allows them to perform their complex mating ritual, paving the way for deeper studies into sexual behavior and how it can be modified by social experience.

Copulation Control from CNCB on Vimeo.

A gene known as doublesex is responsible for the differences in anatomy and behaviour of males and females in many animal species. The male doublesex gene is active in around 650 neurons - specialised cells that transmit nerve impulses - with specific groups of cells controlling distinct steps in the courtship ritual. However, it was not known how these different steps are coordinated to ensure successful mating.

Read more (Oxford Science blog)

Articles

Neural circuitry coordinating male copulation (eLIFE website)

Neural wiring: The circuitry of sex (eLIFE website)