The moral molecule: Should oxytocin sprays be regulated?

Oxytocin is a string of nine amino acids combined into a peptide. It might look pretty unremarkable as a chemical formula, but if you formulate it into a handy spray, put it in an attractive bottle like this, and label it ‘liquid trust,’ it starts to spark the imagination.

What if there was a molecule you could spray on yourself and which would magically induce everyone in the vicinity to trust you? Is that even possible?

Whether you think that sounds pretty sweet, or more like a social dystopia, ‘liquid trust’ is available to buy now. But should it be?

I consider this issue in this month’s Last Retort column in Chemistry World. You’ll have to read it to get the full story.

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