Monthly Archives: July 2009

and now the “bonding gene”…!

What if a woman could tell whether a man is husband material just by peering at his genes? A recent study shows a man has one type of gene versus another that could help decide whether he’s good “husband material”.


The study shows that one form of DNA is linked to marital bliss while the other to discord. This is not about sexual motivation, but rather a sort of prolonged social motivation. In other words, the more vasopressin chemical material in the brain, the more males want to stick around and mingle with the female after copulation is through. This effect is more pronounced in the monogamous males.


This [divorce gene], linked to an increased risk of relationship breakdown has been discovered by Swedish scientists. Researchers say it plays a crucial role in determining how the brain responds to vasopressin, a chemical that is central to the bonding process between a man and a woman. It seems variations in a section of the gene coding for a vasopressin receptor in people help to determine whether men are serial commitment-phobes or devoted husbands.


Hasse Walum at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues looked at the various forms of the gene coding for a vasopressin receptor in 552 Swedish twins, who were all in heterosexual partnerships. The researchers also investigated the quality of their relationships. They found that variation in a section of the gene called RS3 334 was linked to how men bond with their partners. Men can have none, one or two copies of the RS3 334 section, and the higher the number of copies, the worse men scored on a measure of pair bonding.


In humans, genetic information is stored on chromosomes, and each chromosome is made up of two parts called alleles. The researchers found that the “334” allele seemed to have a negative association with men’s relationship with their spouses. Specifically:


·         In men, having allele 334 was inversely linked to measure of a person’s bond to their mate

·         Men who carried two copies of allele 334 were more than twice as likely (34 percent) to report serious marital or relationship problems, such as facing threat of divorce, as men who did not carry it (15 percent)

·         Men with two copies of allele 334 were almost twice as likely to be unmarried (32 percent) as men with no copies (17 percent), despite having a long term relationship with their mate

·         Women married to men with one or two copies of allele 334 reported lower scores on measures of marital quality than women married to men not carrying this allele


Statistics show all men with variant of this gene scored badly on a questionnaire designed to assess how well they would bond with their partner, and were more likely to report having marital difficulties. The wives of those who were married were also less satisfied with their marriage than women whose husbands did not have the genetic variant. Those with two copies of it were twice as likely to report having had a marital crisis in the past year – as reported in the Proceedings Of The national Academy Of Sciences.


The discovery raises the possibility that scientists could one day develop drugs to target the gene in an attempt to prevent marriages from falling apart.


As men with a “bonding gene” could help them stay married, the ladies should make sure that Mr. Right’s genes fit ~ before they say YES I DO.