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It’s a matter of territory

Territory matters to California mice when it comes to mating.

Males in this monogamous mouse species use their scent glands to mark the boundaries of their home range, making their dominance known one scent at a time to other males. Too much bisphenol A (BPA) in their environment can change that, short-circuiting their ability to complete this crucial task. Male mice fed BPA couldn’t mark territory when a normal male entered their environment, putting them at a disadvantage. That means the chemical could seriously impact whether these mice pass their genes on to the next generation.

Cheryl Rosenfeld, a researcher here at MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center, recently published these results in PLOS ONE. Rosenfeld previously studied deer mice, finding BPA disrupted the ability of males to find their mates. She decided to repeat the experiment with California mice because their monogamous relationships, where both parents care for their offspring together, might mirror human relationships more closely.

If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts, read Rosenfeld’s the whole study at PLOS ONE, an international open-source science journal.

A National Institute of Health Challenge Grant, a Mizzou Advantage grant and support from Food for the 21th Century Program made this research possible. Rosenfeld collaborated across disciplines with teams from the Bond Life Sciences Center, Biological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience, Department of Psychological Sciences, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Animal Science, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Genetics and CAFNR.

Read MU’s News Bureau release on Rosenfeld’s work.

Article originally published on Decoding Science.