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Think With Your Balls? Testicles Contain More Unique Proteins Than Our Brains

Think With Your Balls? Testicles Contain More Unique Proteins Than Our Brains
[Top photo: Somchai Rakinvia via Shutterstock]

We men always knew our testicles were special. But now there’s definitive science to prove it. When researchers recently mapped all the proteins produced by our organs, they found that the most productive part of the body isn’t our brains. It’s our balls.

The Human Protein Atlas, the protein equivalent of the Human Genome project, created 13 million photos of human tissue. They found that the brain contains only 318 unique proteins, compared to 999 in the testes.

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Researchers hope mapping the “proteome” will improve understanding of bodily processes at a molecular level and help identify cancers. The work, which began in 2005, was conducted by 13 separate labs and led by Mathias Uhlén at the Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm.

The body contains about 20,000 proteins, but only 2,355 are unique to particular organs. (The Atlas maps 18,000 in all.) Our individuality, of course, comes from our genes, but our biological processes are carried out by proteins, which give each organ its function. Genes are “active” or non-active according to whether they produce proteins.

The diversity of proteins in testicles is linked to the complexity of reproduction. And, in fact, Uhlén told the New Scientist that ovaries may produce at the same level–but he didn’t test those. For now, that leaves balls out front.

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