POLL: Would you test him for the “cheating gene”?
Imagine there’s a genetic test that could reveal your man’s chances of being a cheater — or, at least, a difficult long-term companion. Would you make him take it? Turns out we’re one step closer to having the option.
Can your genes make you cheat? is one question posed in BLONDES. To answer, I mention recent studies on the monogamous prairie vole and the role of vasopressin, a hormone associated with monogamy. Prairie voles are much more monogamous than their cousins, the montane vole, and the difference might boil down to different variants of vasopressin receptor genes in the two species. (Vasopressin receptors exist in regions of the brain related to trust, reward, and bonding, including the ventral tegmental area or VTA.) Scientists have since speculated that men, too, might vary in their vasopressin receptor genes….and that might make all the difference between faithful guys and cheating rats.
Now there’s more concrete evidence that men do indeed differ in their vasopressin receptor genes, and that that a single genetic variation affects their love lives. Hasse Wallum , a medical epidemiologist at the Karolinska Institute, found that men who had one or two copies of allele RS3 334, a variant of a vasopressin receptor gene, were more likely to have relationship crises than men who lacked the variant. The wives of guys with the variant cited more relationship problems than did women married to men without the variant. Interestingly, studies have also found that autistic men are more likely to have copies of this wayward gene variant.
Although the study stresses that men with RS3 334 alleles aren’t guaranteed to be romantic duds and deadends — after all, the effects are modest, other genes may be involved, and cultural factors have their sway — but it inspires the imagination. What do you do if your man has the “cheating” gene, putting your relationship at greater risk of strife and infidelity? Do you still date him – or do you dump him? Would you even want to know?
So, do you test him?
(Thoughts welcome in comment box below.)