Simple to complex: the importance of sexual maturation

Imagine a train station connecting the entire world. From one platform you can take a train from New York, New York to Shanghai, China while from another you can take one from Sydney, Australia to Reykjavik, Iceland. Through this one train station the world can be easily connected to each other and would create a hub of commerce and easy communication. This imaginary train station resembles the hub sensory neuron found in the male C. elegans worm. A hub neuron is an essential player in relaying information from the core nervous system of an organism to other neuronal networks throughout the body. In the case of the C. elegans, the hub neuron connects to sex specific networks. To understand t

It's good to be picky

Seeking a romantic partner poses a unique set of challenges. One typically considers age, common interests, physical attractiveness, and similar life goals when looking for someone to form a relationship with. But have you ever considered how much more difficult it would be if we were forced to also determine if our love interest was the same species as us? Thankfully, humans are able to do this subconsciously. Male Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila simulans, closely related fly species, on the other hand, cannot distinguish the species of females simply by sight. While the two are physically able mate, it is not beneficial to either species as the offspring that are produced are o

Microglia, Marijuana, and the Munchies

As much as we know about the human body today, it’s still mind blowing to think that microscopic cells and molecules sustain our lives. I’m here to tell you about a type of cell that isn’t discussed in a general biology class and is directly involved in forming brain sex differences: microglia. My previous blog post unfolded the 2010 publication from Dr. Margret McCarthy’s lab, which ultimately showed that the endocannabinoid system (eCB) was regulating the number of astrocytes in the amygdala. Now, ten years later, her research group published a paper that seems to explain the mechanism by which cell number is being reduced in the amygdala. The group set out to investigate microglia as a

Little branch, big difference

For many of us, middle school health class provided the basic biological and anatomical differences between males and females. While we can recognize physical differences from a young age and learn about the differing reproductive organs in our pre-teen years, many sex-specific characteristics and behaviors are more difficult to understand; particularly those in the brain. What causes structural and functional differences in the brains of males versus females? In a 2016 publication in Current Biology, Dr. Hiroki Ito, Dr. Daisuke Yamamoto and their team at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan dove deeper into one of these sex differences and its effect on the courtship behaviors in flies, Dro

Boys will be boys

For six consecutive summers as a teenager I worked as a camp counselor. I watched over the same age group of kids each year: three to five year olds. I can vividly describe instances from each summer where I was forced to break-up some pretty violent fights. You might not believe it, but once I even had to restrain a little boy from trying to lick another boy to death! As a general rule, I noticed that juvenile boys tend to engage in rough play much more often than juvenile girls. Amazingly, during the 1970s, a couple of research groups recognized the same pattern across other mammalian species. For example, several species of primates and rats show social behavior differences between males

Worm sex and the art of pruning

Sexually reproducing animals generally come in two sexes that can differ dramatically in anatomy and behavior to facilitate mating and reproduction. Interestingly, individuals of each sex are often born with the instincts and ability to mate with the opposite sex. These sex differences in behavior are due to sex differences in the nervous system. How do the neural circuits that control sexually dimorphic behaviors differ, and what mechanisms underlie the generation of those differences? The nematode worm, C. elegans, is an excellent organism to study these questions. These small worms have a quick generation time and their biology is relatively well understood. On top of that, C. elegans wor

Fruit Fly Dating and Mating

Today, many people meet their significant others through dating websites by electing to initiate a conversation after glancing at the biography and pictures posted by the other user. Without realizing it, humans are able to determine the sex of their potential partners from these short descriptions...but how are other organisms able to make the same judgments? While humans typically use physical cues such as size, mannerisms, genitalia, etc., fruit flies like Drosophila melanogaster use pheromones. Flies are coated with waxy pheromones that differ between males and females. When a male fly first courts a female, he taps the female’s abdomen with his foreleg. The male’s foreleg has tiny hai

Fruit Fly Dating and Mating

Today, many people meet their significant others through dating websites by electing to initiate a conversation after glancing at the biography and pictures posted by the other user. Without realizing it, humans are able to determine the sex of their potential partners from these short descriptions...but how are other organisms able to make the same judgments? While humans typically use physical cues such as size, mannerisms, genitalia, etc., fruit flies like Drosophila melanogaster use pheromones. Flies are coated with waxy pheromones that differ between males and females. When a male fly first courts a female, he taps the female’s abdomen with his foreleg. The male’s foreleg has tiny hairs

Now You Can Blog from Everywhere!

We’ve made it quick and convenient for you to manage your blog from anywhere. In this blog post we’ll share the ways you can post to your Wix Blog. Blogging from Your Wix Blog Dashboard On the dashboard, you have everything you need to manage your blog in one place. You can create new posts, set categories and more. To head to your Dashboard, open the Wix Editor and click on Blog > Posts. Blogging from Your Published Site Did you know that you can blog right from your published website? After you publish your site, go to your website’s URL and login with your Wix account. There you can write and edit posts, manage comments, pin posts and more! Just click on the 3 dot icon ( ⠇) to see all the

Design a Stunning Blog

When it comes to design, the Wix blog has everything you need to create beautiful posts that will grab your reader's attention. Check out our essential design features. Choose from 8 stunning layouts Your Wix Blog comes with 8 beautiful layouts. From your blog's settings, choose the layout that’s right for you. For example, a tiled layout is popular for helping visitors discover more posts that interest them. Or, choose a classic single column layout that lets readers scroll down and see your post topics one by one. Every layout comes with the latest social features built in. Readers can easily share posts on social networks like Facebook and Twitter and view how many people have liked a pos

Grow Your Blog Community

With Wix Blog, you’re not only sharing your voice with the world, you can also grow an active online community. That’s why the Wix blog comes with a built-in members area - so that readers can easily sign easily up to become members of your blog. What can members do? Members can follow each other, write and reply to comments and receive blog notifications. Each member gets their own personal profile page that they can customize. Tip: You can make any member of your blog a writer so they can write posts for your blog. Adding multiple writers is a great way to grow your content and keep it fresh and diversified. Here’s how to do it: Head to your Member’s Page Search for the member you want to

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