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People Top 5
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- July 13, 1998
- Vol. 49
- No. 27
Dr. Peter Fong, a Marine Biologist, Finds Out That Prozac Does a Lot to Bring Mollusks Out of Their Shells
In fact, Fong, 39, a marine biologist at Gettysburg College, in Gettysburg, Pa., has discovered that just one drop of the antidepressant makes clams act like rabbits. In one hour, each undepressed clam produces 10 little baby clams. But since the fingernail clams he uses are hermaphroditic—they have both male and female sex organs—all this mad, passionate lovemaking involves only themselves. Selfish shellfish!
Fong, however, isn't after vicarious thrills. Some aquatic farmers enhance clam reproduction with injections of the chemical serotonin, which Prozac stimulates in the human brain (in humans, Prozac can diminish sex drive). To test his theory that Prozac would work as a more cost-effective clam Viagra, he began trials in 1996.
So far, Fong, who is single, has tested only nonedible shellfish, but he plans to turn to table-worthy varieties soon. "It will be the resolution of a lot of questions," he says.
And if it all works out, he'll be as happy as an edible marine bivalve mollusk.
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