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Commitment Phobias In Men Linked to Genetic Flaw

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, September 02, 2008 3:21 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Marriage, Men's Health, Vasopressin, FOXO3A Gene, Allele 334 Gene, Monogamy


IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons / George Clooney / author: Efloch

A new study suggests a genetic “flaw” may be the reason some men have commitment phobias and are reluctant to walk down the aisle.

Researcher's first became interested in the link between the hormone vasopressin and bonding in men, after animal studies in a rodent called the vole, showed vasopressin affects the voles' ability to remain monogamous.

But, noting humans and voles are very different species, researchers wanted to know if the same findings would also hold true in men, said lead researcher Hasse Walum.

The study, by the Karolinska Institute, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

A Swedish team of researchers looked at the variants of the vasopressin 1a gene of more than 500 sets of twins, all of whom were in a five year or longer relationship. Although about 18 percent of the men were unmarried.

Participants were given psychological tests to help researchers assess their ability to commit and form a bond. Their answers were than compared against their genetic make-up.

The study found, men who carry a certain variant, known as allele, of the vasopressin receptor 1a gene, called 334 (AVPR1A), scored lower on the Partner Bonding Scale psychological test. The results also showed they were less likely to be married compared to those men carrying another form of the gene.

Men carrying two copies of the 334 gene more than doubled the chances that they would report having had some type of marital strife and discord during the past year, such as a threat of divorce.

Researchers believe the gene, carried by about 40% of the men, may affect the way the male brain uses the hormone vasopressin. This same gene has been associated with autism – a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to communicate, form relationships, and respond to the environment.

“This is the first time a study has shown how a specific gene variant is linked with how men bond with their partners,” said Walum.

On average, women married to men who carry the allele 334 gene, report being less than satisfied with their relationship compared to those women married to men who don’t carry the gene.

“There could be evolutionary benefits to possessing the 334 variant,” said Dr. George Fieldman, principal lecturer in psychology at Buckingham New University.

If the objective is to survive and spread our genes, the findings are potentially positive. But, there are also advantages to being in monogamous relationship and having the support of a loving family.

In a separate but related study, also published in the same issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers of the Pacific Health Institute, in Honolulu, have found a gene strongly associated with extended life and health in humans. The FOXO3A gene is the second gene to be linked to longevity, researchers said.

The study made up of Japanese-American men found that those men who lived to be the average lifespan of 98-years of age carried a specific variant of the FOXO3A gene compared to those men who died at younger ages. #


Posted by Steve Lombardi
Wednesday, September 03, 2008 11:51 AM EST

Chrissie: I've written the men's version on the Des Moines IB site. We men can't allow you women to call Geoge's lifestyle choice a genetic flaw. No way no how. Leave our George alone.


Posted by Steve Lombardi
Friday, September 05, 2008 1:27 PM EST

Your article was picked up by MediaLoper.com. Here is the link:


Comments for this article are closed.

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