Check your proposed mate's genetics before you tie the knot

Sure, you checked out what sports he likes, and whether he snores, but did you check his genes? Do you know that "men are more likely to be devoted and loyal husbands when they lack a particular variant of a gene that . . . [predicts] his aptitude for monogamy"?

According to a recent article in The Oregonian and other newspapers, this finding

. . . not only links the gene variant, which is present in two of every five men, with the risk of marital discord and divorce, but also appears to predict whether women involved with these men are likely to say their partners are emotionally close and available, or distant and disagreeable. The presence of the gene variant, or allele, also seems predictive of whether men get married or live with women without getting married.

Hasse Walum and a team of scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden studied a gene that regulates the activity of vasopressin, a brain hormone, in more than 1000 heterosexual couples. They examined the hormone in men, rather than in women, because the hormone is known to play a greater role in men's brains than in women's brains.

The results of the study showed that approximately 600 men, who had no copies of the allele, had the least risk of discord with their partners--about 15% reported serious marital discord. Of the 400 men with one or two copies, those men with two copies had the most risk: 34% of them reported serious discord. Their wives and partners reported lower levels of satisfaction, affection, cohesion, and consensus in the relationship.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If you want more information, let me know (mgodfrey@geneforum.org). I can use my alumni link into the Johns Hopkins library to read the original publication.

Marie Godfrey, PhD

 

 

 

 

 

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