File this under Things That Make You Go Hmmmm…:
Men are more likely to be devoted and loyal husbands when they lack a particular variant of a gene that influences brain activity, researchers announced [Monday] the first time that science has shown a direct link between a man’s genes and his aptitude for monogamy.
The finding is striking because it 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.
The brain activity being influenced, apparently, is the distribution of receptors for the peptide hormone vasopressin, which mostly regulates water retention but which seems to have some connection to aggression.
I know I get peeved if I’m retaining water. But seriously:
About 40 percent of men have one or two copies of the allele. [Hasse] Walum, a PhD student, said that men with two copies of the allele had a greater risk of marital discord than men with one copy, and that men with one copy of the allele were at more risk of such discord than men with no copies. The study asked men in married or long-term relationships whether they had experienced relationship crises in the past year that were of such intensity that they considered divorce or splitting. The scientists also asked the wives and partners of the men what it was like to live with them, examining levels of affection, cohesion, consensus and satisfaction.
I’m guessing I have this thing woven through the entire freaking helix. Not that anyone is likely to let me get away with “But it’s genetic!” as an excuse.