Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A new paper from Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics's Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour has shown how males and females are programmed differently in terms of sex.

The brains of a male and female fly merged together shows an intertwined network of neurons in roughly the same position, demonstrating that neural activity in each brain is similar yet subtly different.
A sexually dimorphic doublesex-expressing neuronal cluster in the brain. The male (green) and female (magenta) corresponding clusters are co-registered onto a template brain (blue)

The evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson wrote, “The battle of the sexes is an eternal war.”  

In most animal species, the costs associated with reproduction differ between the sexes: females often benefit most from producing high-quality offspring, while males often benefit from mating with as many females as possible. As a result, males and females have evolved profoundly different adaptations to suit their own reproductive needs. So, how does selection act on the nervous system to produce adaptive sex-differences in behaviour within the bounds set by physical constraints, including both size and energy, and a largely shared genome?

A new study from the Goodwin group (Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics) led by Dr Tetsuya Nojima and Dr Annika Rings, offers a solution to this long-standing question by uncovering a novel circuit architecture principle that allows deployment of completely different behavioural repertoires in males and females, with minimal circuit changes.

Read the full story on the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics website.

The story is also featured in the Oxford Science Blog 'Males and females are programmed differently in terms of sex'.

Similar stories

Potential for radiotherapy and VTP multimodality therapy for prostate cancer

A recent collaborative study from the University of Oxford has investigated the potential benefit of a combined therapy approach to prostate cancer treatment, using radiotherapy and vascular targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP), which could lead to first-in-man early phase clinical trials.

Latest data on immune response to COVID-19 reinforces need for vaccination, says Oxford-led study

A new study led by the University of Oxford has found that previous infection, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, does not necessarily protect you long-term from COVID-19, particularly against new Variants of Concern.

First trimester placental scan - Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award

A first trimester 3D placental ultrasound scan which can predict fetal growth restriction and pre-eclampsia, could become part of a woman's routine care thanks to a new Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award.

Impaired antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination in patients with myeloid blood cancers

Oxford researchers have found that antibody responses to the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine in people with chronic myeloid blood cancers are not as strong as those among the general population.

Oxford University and partners win government funding to evaluate Paige Prostate Cancer Detection System

A prostate cancer detection software system to help pathologists quickly identify suspicious areas of tissue, developed by Paige, will be investigated in a multicentre clinical study led by Oxford University as part of a successful NHSx Artificial Intelligence Health and Care Award application.

Treating Needle Fears May Reduce COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Rates by 10%

A new large-scale study shows that a quarter of the UK adult population screens positive for a potential injection phobia.