Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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One of two similar hormones produced in the hypothalamus but stored and secreted by the pituitary gland; it stimulates muscle contractions in the uterine wall and also in muscle cells in the mammary glands, resulting in milk ejection. Oxytocin variation has also been implicated in behavior modification in mammals, and has been proposed as a genetic mediator of attachment behavior in females.

Cf. vasopressin.

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From "Dictionary of Nursing and Individual Health Care"