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Chemical Communication Among Humans

As earlier stated, the subject of pheromones in human beings has been hotly debated in scientific circles for many years. Though the full significance of human pheromones is yet to be determined, most scientists agree that some chemical communication among human beings does exist. Over the past two decades, this hypothesis has gained increasing credibility, as new evidence continues to be slowly uncovered. In early 1991, a team of scientists reported a possible attractant that guides human sperm to the egg for fertilization. It seems from their research that many of the sperm, en route to the egg, may be swimming up a concentration gradient of pheromone, released by the egg or nearby cells. The researchers obtained samples of the fluid that surrounds the female egg from women undergoing in vitro fertilization procedures. They found that many more sperm swam to this fluid than a control solution, suggesting a chemical signal is responsible for attracting the sperm. Further, a separate group of scientists discovered about twenty different olfactory receptors in sperm tissue. These receptors are the same kind found in the human nose, and were not found in several other types of tissue, studied throughout the body. Unfortunately, the exact function of these receptors is still uncertain, although many believe they receive chemical signals that guide them on their journey to the egg.
In addition, the relationship between an infant and its mother recently has been tested for possible pheromone links. It has been long since understood that the infant-mother relationship has been special among human beings for its uncanny closeness. Recent experiments have shown that during thefirst six weeks of life, infants show an increased preference for the smell of their mothers breast over that of another mother. The infant has clearly begun to recognize its mothers scent during thefirst weeks of its life. This scent may include not only the mothe…

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