Previous work has shown that sexual maturation of female mice is accelerated by the presence of a male. This report identifies male odor as a critical stimulatory masculine agent. Groups of females in contact with 1) an adult male, 2) with a male behind a wire mesh barrier, or 3) the odor of a male display vaginal opening and first estrus about 15 days earlier than females exposed to a castrate male, forced activity, or no male influences. The data also suggest that odors derived from males exposed to estrous females are more effective than odors from solitary males in accelerating sexual maturation.
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