Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are you predisposed to be an Alpha (or Omega)?

Here he comes to save the daaaaaay!
Today, I was catching up on some blogs I follow, and I found this little article that English II students might be interested in:
Two mice meet in a narrow plastic tube that's not wide enough for both of them... One of them must give way. In their earlier encounter, the first mouse exerted its dominance by forcing [the second mouse] to reverse down the tube. This time, things are different; the second mouse pulls rank and the first one backs down... By injecting a single gene into one part of its brain, [Fei] Wang turned the subordinate animal into a dominant one... By manipulating this signalling, he could push mice up or down the social ladder. With an extra dose of GluR4, the mice gained social standing. When they confronted other mice in a cramped plastic tube, they were more likely to force their rivals to retreat, even if they had previously given way. With their new rank, they were also more likely to court female mice with high-pitched ultrasonic songs.
So it sounds like being an alpha or omega animal is a characteristic of which you might be genetically predisposed. What do you think of that? If you had the choice to have an experimental gene like that injected into you so you could become more alpha-like, would you?

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