Is There A Divorce Gene?
Some marriages seem doomed from the start – and there just might be a scientific reason for that. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm say a gene that affects how women process oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” may spell success or failure for a relationship
Oxytocin, a naturally occurring substance, is produced in higher amounts during childbirth and breastfeeding, and it may help a mother to bond with her newborn. But the Karolinska researchers say that women who don’t process the hormone normally may have problems relating to other people as well, including their husbands or partners. And that doesn’t bode well for the success of a marriage or long-term relationship.
In their study, the Swedish researchers examined the DNA of more than 1,800 women and their partners. All were in relationships of five years or more. Women who were identified as carrying a variation of the gene that processes oxytocin were likelier to report difficulty in their relationship, the researchers. (Technically, the variation is known as A-allele.) Men who were in relationships with these women were also less likely to be satisfied.
But men’s DNA can also be to blame for breakups. Four years ago, the same team found that some men couldn’t normally process the hormone vasopressin, and that as a result they were less likely to commit to one woman or to be faithful.