Since many factors are associated with male and female sexual function and dysfunction are believed to have a genetic basis, the field has shifted the focus of many behavioural geneticists. Many methodologies within genetic research are critical in distinguishing the role of genetics and the role of nature contributing to the complex traits of sexual behaviour in humans. Recently several studies show how genes pass on the message and are influenced by the hormones.
What are hormones and how do they influence the genes?
Hormones are known as body signalling molecules. They play an important role in many aspects of the body's development and biology. Studies show that sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone have the potential to influence gene expression in the hypothalamus. Recently a study conducted at the University of San Francisco focused on the hypothalamus of the mice and found that the gene dopamine (D4) receptor (DRD4) among the 16 genes is responsible for partly controlling the brain's response to dopamine. A closer look revealed that the gene expressions were not just limited to the hypothalamus but also the amygdala, a region focussed on emotions.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter sending messages between nerve cells. A chemical messenger, dopamine plays a role in how a person feels pleasure. It has the ability to control the drive for things such as food, drugs, and sex. Back in 2004, a study showed that a drug blocking dopamine caused the male mice to experience erectile dysfunction.
Though the complete science behind how genetic change may boost libido is unclear, there is evidence that people who have a healthier sex appetite might simply be craving more excitement. Dopamine may influence how the brain sharply reacts sexual arousing and prompting bodily reactions such as an erection in males.
Last year, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) offered an interesting glimpse into the complex sexual behaviour we see today. The large scale study provides some insights into the genetic influence on same-sex behaviour.
Many loci with small effects were seen to contribute to an individual difference, some leading to same-sex behaviour. Genetic patterns were seen to be consistent with many behavioural, personality, and also physical traits.
Genetic testing and complications:
Genetic testing is conducted accurately and can contribute to the male and female sexual functions and dysfunctions offering prospects of developing potential statements and preventing any problems.
Genetic testing is important to investigate the variations in DNA and RNA characteristics related to the sex drug response and studying the influence of DNA variations on antisexual and pro-sexual drug efficacy and toxicity. Furthermore, a better understanding of lifestyle factors and genes will aid sexual health caregivers with new insights and therapeutic targets.
An array of genes may influence your sexual drive and behaviour, along with some and life experiences and cultural upbringings. But the taboo behind sex, makes it hard to research on, says expert Hamer, Dean of National Institute of Health Sciences Maryland.
Hamer argues that such research is important because sex is a fundamental part of human behaviours and has the potential to explain why some seek multiple sex partners contributing to sexually transmitted diseases.
"The most important thing is it forwards scientific study of sexuality,"Hamer says. "It's about time people started studying this stuff."
Drafted By : Dr. Amol Raut
Edited By : Dr. Amol Raut
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