Hey Ladies, You are Controlled by Seminal Signals

A new study shows that semen can regulate a woman’s genes and her behaviour. The phenomenon of “seminal signalling,” is widespread among animals. Thus the scientists think humans may respond in similar way also.

The researchers at the University of East Anglia reported at the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution conference, that male fruit flies produced more seminal protein when they faced a rival fruit fly. The seminal fluid made the females to eat more, lay more eggs and lowered receptivity to other males. Seminal plasma contained a “master regulator”, a protein, which when absorbed by female fruit fly, altered their gene expression.

Several other findings show that semen can affect women in both physical and psychological ways:

  • A study by the State University of New York in 2012 showed that seminal fluid contains mood elevating compounds: a cocktail of feel good hormones like, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin, when absorbed through the vaginal walls, made women less depressed and anxious.
  • The same 2012 study showed that, women who practice unprotected sex regularly, scored higher on cognitive tests with better concentration.
  • A study showed that the best way to cure morning sickness is to ingest semen.
  • Several studies demonstrated melatonin in semen induced sleepiness after sex.
  • A study by the University of Saskatchewan found that seminal protein signals the brain to ovulate in time. The seminal hormones can be so controlling that they have the capacity to confuse a woman’s cycle and induce her to ovulate.

In fruit flies, circulatory system takes semen proteins to reach the brain. In humans, this is less likely. Instead, the response might be transferred through uterus to the brain, by inducing the expression of lots of cervical genes related to immune system, ovulation, receptivity of the uterus lining of an embryo, and its growth. A study showed that three microRNAs are released by the cervix in response to semen.

Whatever’s the case, it’s amazing to find something so often overlooked as semen can have widespread physiological responses. Experts say that semen could have effects on women beyond their reproductive tract and if the effects are real, depression in some people might be treatable with artificial-semen suppositories!

 

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Arunima Maiti

Arunima Maiti

Biomedical scientist with special interest in reproductive biology.

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