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The Good Husband - Is It All in His Genes?

Science & Tech  (tags: genes, genetic variant, allele, vasopressin, men, marriage, biology, husbands )

- 3822 days ago -
Men - can't live with 'em, can't kill 'em. But an amazing discovery by the Karolinska Institute has shown a definitive link between a particular genetic variant that occurs in 2 out of 5 men and a man's ability to be a warm and loving partner.


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RC deWinter (418)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 3:46 am
Hooboy, there's a lot I could say here, but I'll leave it at this - I predict that women will push for the pre-marital "Go get tested, honey" option...LOL.

Dennis Archer (210)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 4:19 am
I wonder if there's a way to get women tested for warmth and love as well? They aren't *all* gems , you know.

Pete Conrads (91)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 4:24 am
LOL!!! You are so bad Cate :o) lol! might be a good decision though....

I am single and have chosen to be so for a long time, wonder if I have a few of those alleles mucking about.....

My aptitude for monogamy is without doubt, as I could not imagine having to keep more then one relationship going lol!!!!!

RC deWinter (418)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 4:42 am
Hey Pete, men who stray don't always juggle "relationships." Some of them just go out tomcatting to strip clubs, hookers, etc.

Ramona Gehl (141)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 4:50 am
Hey..Why do I always meet the guys with 2 alleles??? Just kidding! LOL

RC deWinter (418)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 4:54 am
Based on the descriptions in the article, only my first husband was blessed with just one, Ramona...LOL!

Laurie W (189)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 5:40 am
Dennis I'd agree there's lumps of coal on both sides. Makes you wonder though when studies show we are attracted to one person over another with certain scents. Does that imply that when you are drawn to that "bad boy" your body chemicals know it and make that choice anyway. I'm sure studies would show the genetic composition could account for the absense of nuturing in certain females/males also.

Joycey B (750)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 5:40 am
I'm happy. At least for now. LoL. Thanks Cate.

Marie Ayuso (31)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 6:15 am
Alright! Great, hopefully,(for those moms who have sons) there'll be one for women soon, it's only fair and right.

Morgan Griffith (225)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 6:19 am
I'm sure if they look harder they'll find something in the female genes that shows the same results. In the mean time is it going to be "So what kind of car do you drive and what's your genetic makeup?"

Melissa Kush (3)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 7:34 am
Interesting. I wonder if that has anything to do with the RH antigen? If the mother is negative, not having it in her blood, but the baby is postive, mom's blood will become allergic and try to kill the foreign presence. Does the kid run around with a mom hates me complex?

I had to look allele up because the 'copy' part was confusing me. One copy means that there are two...the original and the copy, right? So two copies mean that there are actually three! There are two alleles for each trait, either heterozygous (one dominant, one recessive) or homozygous. (both dominant, or both recessive) Do we want the homozygous or the heterozygous? WHICH one makes the guy a warm and loving partner? Does it mean that he might speak in falsetto? LOL

RC deWinter (418)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 7:44 am
Melissa....handing you a nice cup of soothing peppermint tea...relax...ROFL

Francois B (0)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 7:46 am
Well, Laurie, yes and no... The thing is that even this "choice" is always set by a complex interaction of both physical attractiveness and cultural imprints. And the physical attractiveness itself is directed by both inborn dispositions and life experiences. For example, this article is about one of those inborn factors, but there are others. The scents you're talking about are in fact sexual pheromones, one particular kind of pheromones which are bodily secretions that signal many different things, be it age, sex, fear, sexual receptiveness, etc. It is not sure whether humans are really able to detect those pheromones since we have lost the vomeronasal organ (but some species still detect pheromones without it) and if so, which kind they do or what it means. The most known study is about women breathing men's t-shirts. However, two main conclusions are possible to reach : it could be that we identify people with different MHC to create a better immune system for your offspring. The other hypothesis, somewhat related, is that it creates heterozygosity. Most of those reactions are contextual. For example, young men execrate more saliva when in contact with young women than when they are with other men. And like I said in the beginning, those are complex interactions. Apart from the VNO (vomeronasal organ), a series of nerves present in the brain are implicated in the process. If absent, the reactions do not occur. And like the present article says, even if you produce the hormone necessary, if the receptors are absent or dysfunctional, the reaction is different. Many things are necessary. For example : "The only known volatile pheromone in Drosophila, 11-cis-vaccenyl acetate (cVA), mediates a variety of behaviors including aggregation, mate recognition, and sexual behavior. cVA is detected by a small set of olfactory neurons located in T1 trichoid sensilla on the antennae of males and females. Two components known to be required for cVA reception are the odorant receptor Or67d and the extracellular pheromone-binding protein LUSH. Using a genetic screen for cVA-insensitive mutants, we have identified a third component required for cVA reception: sensory neuron membrane protein (SNMP). ( So, even in flies, at least three components are necessary. In humans, visual cues may also be related to the MHC (major histocompatibility complex).

For some interesting articles, you can take a look here :

Oh, and for the record, yes, you're body, actually your brain, takes decisions before you know it :

And for the nurturing thing, it is kind of the same process. No biologist would argue that there is ONE maternal instinct. But fos genes regulating the hypothalamus are involved in some maternal behaviors. During suckling, the hypophysis (pituitary gland) secretes prolactin which favors lactogenesis. During suckling, oxytocin is also released and this hormone is generally associated with soothing, diminishes aggressiveness and pain. But these hormones were not necessarily directly selected for this since they also play an important role during sexual intercourse and oxytocin when women give birth. Evolution selects traits which favor survival and reproduction. That does not mean they cannot be used for something else later to increase even more the individuals' inclusive fitness. For more interesting insights on the biological mechanisms involved in motherhood, see Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, The Woman that Never Evolved and Mother Nature: A history of mothers, infants and Natural Selection.

Francois B (0)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 8:06 am
Melissa, I would have to search a little bit, but there are in fact studies that showed that up to 60% of the pregnancies are naturally (by which I mean not medically) ended in the first two weeks because of incompatibility or malformations problems. If I get my hand on it, I'll post it.

For the second part, alleles are different variations of the same genes. To be homozygous means that you have the same variant on both your chromosomes. Heterozygous means you have different variants. Some genes have more than two alleles, but it seems that this one has two versions (well, the original article is not yet available...). The allele 334 and another one... let's call it 567. So you may have those results:

1=334 334
2=334 567
3=567 334
4=567 567

What they say is that if you have at least one copy of 334, you're on the bad side. So 2-3-4 are bad. And if you're 1, you're the worst. So what you want is a 4.

Suruna WTF (38)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 9:11 am
Way Kudos to the brainiacs! Francois B. and Melissa. I know these pieces are designed for the quick, trite and amusing comment, but it is, while exceedingly challenging to follow, fascinating to have benefit of the truly informed entry. To the rest of us, kudos for showing up and expressing opinions.

Tim Redfern (581)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 10:07 am
I'm with you, Cate.
This topic is a bomb waiting to go off,
so, in the immortal words of Oliver Hardy,
"I have nothing to say".

Thanks, and

RC deWinter (418)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 10:18 am
Not at all, Suruna...I hope to learn from these threads as well and enjoy myself, and am always thrilled when someone with specific knowledge on a particular topic is willing to share that information, Thank you, Francois!

Yvonne White (229)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 10:44 am
Hmm, I was either very clever or very ignorant to marry my husband (aka., Sucker!;) 34 years ago, when I was 18. My sisters have both been divorced twice.

Blacktiger P (247)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 11:48 am
Noted, Hahaha, if I knew then what I know now!!!!!!!!!!

Blacktiger P (247)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 12:03 pm
I remember last year I came across a study in the cloning subject that from that point on women did not need a man for the other half of becoming a parent. In fact I put it up on a share. With the science of manipulation now lesbians can parent their own children using DNA from the partner of the designated mother! At that time I made the comment that men should get off their "good ol' boy" wagon and start living in equality with their female partners. Otherwise if WAR in the world and war in the bedroom continue,this will become the case to ignore men all together, and become in reality and "Amazon" family base.

Francois B (0)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 12:32 pm
Well, you're welcome! Glad I can be useful once in a while... even for a machiavelic male !!!

As for the reproduction between female partners, there are also scientists working on male pregnancy, which would be like an ectopic pregnancy in women.

Middle of the page :

RC deWinter (418)
Tuesday September 2, 2008, 12:40 pm
Okay, call me a philistine sexist, but male pregnancy is simply unnatural. IMHO anyway.

Tuesday September 2, 2008, 1:20 pm

Denice G (45)
Wednesday September 3, 2008, 9:43 pm
Thanks Cate

pete O (242)
Friday September 5, 2008, 1:54 am
Hey Ive got my excuse now thank regina x
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