There’s news for women who want a man who bonds instead of a James Bond: Scientists have identified a common genetic variation that appears to weaken a man’s ability to emotionally attach to one partner.
The study is the first to try to examine whether a hormone that encourages monogamy in animals plays a similar role in male humans. Before getting ideas about a DNA-fidelity test, though, women should consider that the study wasn’t designed to determine how much – or even whether – the gene in question is responsible for monogamy in humans.
“We can’t with any accuracy predict effects on behavior,” says Hasse Walum of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. “A lot of different things determine how happy you will be in a relationship.”
But women can now wonder, “What about his vasopressin 1a receptor subtype?”
Scientists running the studies quite correctly point out that a single gene doesn’t provide much more than a measure of potential behavior. Still – this could make for some great excuses in divorce court.