While oxytocin is still important to voles and other animals, including humans, the results of the study show that it is just one of many factors that influence how we interact with other humans.

Oxytocin has been called the love hormone for a very long time (and for good reason), and some scientists have even suggested that oxytocin deficiency may increase the risk of developing depression, schizophrenia, autism, and more.

Recently, scientists have begun developing methods to selectively edit vole genes using CRISPR, a technique commonly used to study mice and other animals. As part of their first experiment with this technology, they decided to breed voles with oxytocin receptors disabled, and see what would happen if they removed the hormone’s potential impact on their development.

It was surprising that mutated voles did not differ much from their “normal” counterparts, even in how they bond with their mates and how much they value their offspring.

One explanation may be that in voles unable to process oxytocin early in life, biology may compensate in other ways to ensure healthy development.

Source: Ferra

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