Love connections begin in the GUT

Maybe your love connection wasn’t made in heaven afterall.bacteria playing match maker for fruit flies

The hunt for a soulmate

Locating  potential  soulmates  is a  big deal,  especially if you subscribe to the idea of “till death do us part”. 

Traditionally many people found their soul mate with the help of a meddling  “Aunty”  or the hiring of the services of a “professional” matchmaker.  The matchmaker aligned the family demographics  and horoscopes to find a suitable partner.

Today, computers run complex alogarthims to select the perfect match from cyber profiles submitted to on-line dating services.

But many of these “matches” don’t work out !

Because the ultimate match is determined by the bacteria living in the gut. Well, this seems to be the case for  fruit flies.

Love, marriage and fruit flies

Researchers at  Tel Aviv University discovered that the symbiotic bacteria living in the gut of laboratory fruit flies played a very big role in fruit fly choice of mates.

The researches worked with two groups of flies.  The group of flies in the study were either fed on  malt sugar or starch.

The flies were then brought  together and allowed to mate.

But despite the opportunity to “get it on” with any fly in the jar, they preferred to mate with flies that had followed the same dietary pattern,  so there really wasn’t too much mixing.   The malt sugar guys hooked up with other malt sugar flies and the starch guys hooked up with starch eating flies.

Makes sense – if you’re a vegetarian, you would think twice about hooking up with a carnivore because the kitchen could become a  zone of conflict.  It’s going to be much easier, if everyone is on the same page when feeding time comes around.    Fruit flies aren’t stupid.

Yes, but the brains of the operation weren’t the flies

The researchers dosed the flies with an antibiotic and suddenly the mating process was completely random.  

So the flies weren’t in the driver seat – the bacteria inside the flies were.  Since antibiotics damage bacteria not fly brain cells.

A little further digging revealed that the flies following different diets had different gut bacteria. Lactobacillus plantarum was the main resident of the starch fed flies.

The researchers then gave the flies a “probiotic”, by injecting them with the different species of bacteria.   When the bacteria loaded antibiotic treated flies were tossed together in the jar – the whole mating preference thing  happened once more.

But how ?

The researchers found that the bacteria were spicing up the sexual pheromones produced by the flies.

Each set of bacteria produced its own unique “scent” and since everyone knows “like attracts like” – the like smelling flies linked up with flies that smelled just like them.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term “gut feel”

Since there is evidence that pheromones play a role in human attraction. Could your gut feel for someone be your bacteria talking ?

Commensal bacteria play a role in mating preference of Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010) 107(46): 20051-20056; G. Sharon, D. Segal, J. M. Ringo, A. Hefetz, I. Zilber-Rosenberg, E. Rosenberg.

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Further reading

gut bacteria controlling brain
love song melts a girls heart
man in red
How do you plead ? Not guilty – my bacteria made me do it… How “Mr Average” doubled the odds of getting a date and how you can to Men who accessorize with red have sex appeal

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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