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'.