NCBI ROFL: Kiss my cytomegalovirus!

By ncbi rofl | November 17, 2009 4:00 pm

Kissing as an evolutionary adaptation to protect against Human Cytomegalovirus-like teratogenesis.

“Mouth to mouth sexual kissing is seen in more than 90% of human cultures. Various theories have been put forward to account for this but none offer a full explanation within an evolutionary framework. As mouth to mouth sexual kissing exposes each participant to the diseases of the other, it must confer significant benefit. Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous infection that carries a severe teratogenic risk if primary infection is acquired during certain critical periods. As HCMV is present in salivary gland epithelial cells and sheds from periodontitis induced lesions, female inoculation with a specific male’s HCMV is most efficiently achieved through mouth to mouth contact and saliva exchange, particularly where the flow of saliva is from the male to the typically shorter female. The current hypothesis proposes that mouth to mouth sexual kissing enables females to control when they become infected with a particular male’s HCMV and so protect their offspring from the threat of teratogenesis from primary infection during vulnerable times in their development. Females only gain this benefit if they also avoid becoming infected by other males. Hence HCMV induced teratogenesis is a strong viral pressure towards the development of monogamy as well as kissing as a behavioural strategy to protect against it.”

CATEGORIZED UNDER: analysis taken too far, NCBI ROFL
  • Single again

    Shame on you, NCBI ROFL!!!

    When I told my girlfriend yesterday night that she just wanted to kiss me not because she loved me but to get infected by HCMV to avoid a primary infection during later pregnancy, she first gave me a smack in my face, then called me a pervert and broke up with me.

    WHAT? I only informed her about science's latest news and that is the reward? Sniff…

  • Anonymous

    long live pseudoscience!

  • Anonymous

    Damn you monogamy!

  • Anonymous

    no worries anonymous…now that we know this we can ignore the evolutionary pressure and manage the risk with our brains. science = rock… monogomy = scissors… brain = paper…

  • Anonymous

    oh to kiss abeautiful woman!

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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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