Study: For men, genetics might untie marital bonds

September 3, 2008 at 1:50 am | Posted in sex | Leave a comment

Study: For men, genetics might untie marital bonds

Swedish scientists report finding a genetic link in men who have commitment issues, including sexual fidelity. (Do we hear expressions of disbelief from their partners?)

“There are, of course, many reasons why a person might have relationship problems, but this is the first time that a specific gene variant has been associated with how men bond to their partners,” said Hasse Walum, a postgraduate student at the Karolinska Institute, according to Science Daily. “Women married to men who carry one or two copies of (the variant) were, on average, less satisfied with their relationship than women married to men who didn’t carry” the variant, called an allele.

The researchers found that men who carry one or two copies of a variant of this gene, associated with receptors for the hormone vasopressin, often behave differently in relationships than men who lack the variant. Also, men with two copies were twice as likely to have had a marital or relationship crisis in the past year than those who lacked the variant.

Walum stressed that the effect is relatively modest, and it cannot accurately predict how a man will behave in future relationships. (We’ll take a wild guess: Badly.)

The result are being published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. Live Science has more.

Previous studies determined the same gene variant was linked to monogamous behavior in male voles — mousey rodents.

It’s all starting to make sense.


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