Stepford voles

Genetic therapy can turn promiscuous meadow voles into monogamous homebodies.

Researchers in Atlanta used a virus to transfer the vasopressin receptor gene from prairie voles into their meadow cousins.

They found the formerly promiscuous rodents spent more time cuddling with their current partners rather than with new females, compared to control animals.

The experimental meadow voles also spent more time with their pups and less time grooming themselves, the researchers said in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

Prairie voles are models of fidelity in the vole world.

About Joanne


  1. Yes, but they did not change their behavior of their own vole-ition.

  2. Roy W. Wright says:

    No, it seems it was quite in-vole-untary.

  3. Nonsense–there are no victims–only voleunteers.

  4. Ross (The Heartless Conservative) says:

    There once was a meadow vole
    caught coming out of his hole.
    He was injected with vasopressin
    and it taught him quite a lesson
    and now he no longer shares his pole.

  5. Let’s vole!

  6. The whole thing is re-vole-ting.

  7. John from OK says:

    How long before this stuff appears in our drinking water?

  8. stolypin says:

    So now the answer is not an automatic ‘oui’ in response to the question
    “Vole vous couchez avec moir?”

  9. God, I love this blog!

  10. Roy W. Wright says:

    Yes, that was quite a volley of puns.

  11. Don’t you mean “vole-y”?

  12. Roy W. Wright says:

    So much for subtlety.

  13. Just John says:

    Don’t you mean “sub-VOLE-ty”?

  14. Roy W. Wright says:

    Maybe I mean cuddle-ty.

  15. stolypin says:

    Please refrain from anymore
    fri-vole-ous posts.
    As Bugs Bunny might say, “what a re-vole-ting development”

  16. There’s a critical flaw in any attempt to transplant this research onto humans, which is that voles do not have free will and they are not creatures possessed of reason and cognitive thinking.

    There are many instances in which human volition overrides biological imperatives. Sex is just one of them.

    To imply that humans could be “fixed” by gene therapy is to give credence to the purely biological viewpoint of human behavior — the assumption that men cheat because they are men, Q.E.D.

    I note also that the study seems to refer to male voles only, and I think that we all know that both men and women cheat on their mates. The motives for promiscuity are also highly varied, and are often more complex than just a desire to have sex with as many people as possible.

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  1. DaveShearon says:

    Joanne Jacobs has picked up on a news report based on this press release from Emory University about a genetic basis for monogamy. The study was done on voles and the comments are hilarious puns including a limerick! My question,