"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", says Hasse Walum, postgraduate student at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
He stresses, however, that the effect of this genetic variation is relatively modest, and it cannot be used to predict with any real accuracy how someone will behave in a future relationship.
Hasse Walum and his colleagues made use of data from 'The Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden', which includes over 550 twins and their partners or spouses. The gene under study codes for one of the receptors for vasopressin, a hormone found in the brains of most mammals. The team found that men who carry one or two copies of a variant of this gene - allele 334 - often behave differently in relationships than men who lack this gene variant.
The incidence of allele 334 was statistically linked to how strong a bond a man felt he had with his partner. Men who had two copies of allele 334 were also twice as likely to have had a marital or relational crisis in the past year than those who lacked the gene variant. There was also a correlation between the men's gene variant and what their respective partners thought about their relationship.
"Women married to men who carry one or two copies of allele 334 were, on average, less satisfied with their relationship than women married to men who didn't carry this allele," says Mr Hasse Walum.
The same gene has been previously studied in voles, where it has been linked to monogamous behaviour in males.
"The fact that the corresponding gene has proved important for similar behaviour in voles makes our findings even more interesting, and suggests that the thoroughly studied brain mechanisms that we know give rise to strong bonds between individual voles can also be relevant to humans," he Hasse Walum continuesconcludes.
The team hopes that greater knowledge of the effect of vasopressin on human relations will one day give science a better understanding of the causes of diseases characterised by problems with social interaction, such as autism.
Publication: 'Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans', Hasse Walum, Lars Westberg, Susanne Henningsson, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, David Reiss, Wilmar Igl, Jody M. Ganiban, Erica L. Spotts, Nancy L. Pedersen, Elias Eriksson and Paul Lichtenstein, PNAS Early Edition, 2-5 September 2008.
For further information, please contact:Postgraduate Hasse Walum
Katarina Sternudd | idw
Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal
14.11.2018 | Michigan Technological University
Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
14.11.2018 | Life Sciences