LIFESTYLE

Male Brains Are Wired To Choose Sex Over Food, Study Finds

20/10/2014 12:25 BST | Updated 20/10/2014 12:59 BST

Would you rather have a bacon sandwich or sex? If you're a man, you'll most likely choose the latter.

That's according to new research which suggests the male brain is wired to favour sex over food.

Scientists observing a species of microscopic roundworms called C.elegans found that, when given the choice, male worms focussed on finding a mate rather than looking for food.

sex food

During the study, published in scientific journal Current Biology, a group of worms who had been "genetically engineered" to be hungry were ten times less successful at mating because they wanted to stay near the food source.

There are two sexes of C.elegans roundworms - male and a self-fertilising hermaphrodite organism. The species has no female, so the new findings can not conclusively show whether females pick sex or food. The hermaphrodite orgainsms did respond differently to the males however.

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Assistant Professor Douglas Portman from the University of Rochester, who was the lead author of the study, said: "While we know that human behavior is influenced by numerous factors, including cultural and social norms, these findings point to basic biological mechanisms that may not only help explain some differences in behavior between males and females, but why different sexes may be more susceptible to certain neurological disorders.

“This adds to a growing body of evidence that sex-specific regulation of gene expression may play an important role in neural plasticity and, consequently, influence differences in behaviours - and in disease susceptibility - between the sexes.“

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