It’s a matter of territory

Territory matters to California mice when it comes to mating.

Males in this monogamous mouse species use their scent glands to mark the boundaries of their home range, making their dominance known one scent at a time to other males. Too much bisphenol A (BPA) in their environment can change that, short-circuiting their ability to complete this crucial task. Male mice fed BPA couldn’t mark territory when a normal male entered their environment, putting them at a disadvantage. That means the chemical could seriously impact whether these mice pass their genes on to the next generation.

Cheryl Rosenfeld, a researcher here at MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center, recently published these results in PLOS ONE. Rosenfeld previously studied deer mice, finding BPA disrupted the ability of males to find their mates. She decided to repeat the experiment with California mice because their monogamous relationships, where both parents care for their offspring together, might mirror human relationships more closely.

If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts, read Rosenfeld’s the whole study at PLOS ONE, an international open-source science journal.

A National Institute of Health Challenge Grant, a Mizzou Advantage grant and support from Food for the 21th Century Program made this research possible. Rosenfeld collaborated across disciplines with teams from the Bond Life Sciences Center, Biological Sciences, Interdisciplinary Neuroscience, Department of Psychological Sciences, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Animal Science, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Genetics and CAFNR.

Read MU’s News Bureau release on Rosenfeld’s work.


Jack Schultz, Professor of Plant Sciences and Director of the Bond Life Sciences Center

Jack Schultz, Professor of Plant Sciences and Director of the Bond Life Sciences Center

Welcome to Decoding Science, a new science blog from the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri! The Bond Center is a highly interdisciplinary research organization that promotes collaboration to address questions where different disciplines and study systems meet. Our approaches range far and wide through the life sciences and beyond. So we have lots of stories of our own and we follow interesting science tales everywhere we find them.

So, why “Decoding Science”? Well, we realize that scientists speak their own language, loaded with strange jargon and complicated logic. That can make them hard to understand. We really want to change that, so that anyone can enjoy the exciting science stories we find. We’ll be decoding the strange words and concepts so we can share them with all.

Stay with us and you’ll wind up as excited as we are about what’s happening in science and our world, and you’ll pick up stories and factoids you may even want to retell. So – let’s get started!