Human Sexuality -- the Monogamy Gene Monogamy Essay

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Human Sexuality -- the Monogamy Gene

Monogamy Gene Summary

According to researchers, there is a specific gene possessed by some human males that predisposes them to long-term commitment within monogamous pair bonds. The gene is associated with the hormone vasopressin and it apparently plays a very similar role in humans to analogous genes in other mammals, such as the Prairie Vole. In voles, exposure to vasopressin immediately triggers a protective bonding instinct on the part of males. In humans, researchers have determined that men lacking in specific genetic markers are less likely to bond closely and commit to one woman whereas their counterparts with the marker are more inclined to do so.

The discovery leads to natural speculation about the possible future uses of this information, such as in the screening of potential mates by females hoping to find a partner with a natural tendency to bond closely to his spouse than a partner who tends not to bond as closely or remain monogamous. According to one researcher, that is not a likely future outcome but it is extremely difficult to believe that prediction. Already, many people choose to undergo genetic screening, particularly when they know that they may have a gene for a particular disease that has afflicted others in their families. Alzheimer's is just one example of a disease with a genetic component for which many people have requested testing. It seems much more likely that the opposite is true, especially in light of widespread news reports that the American divorce rate is approximately 60% and that infidelity rates among married males are in the neighborhood of 75%. Certainly, there are many other factors that determine whether or not any individual male will remain faithful in marriage, but commercialization of this particular application of genetic science makes perfect sense for women hoping to minimize the chances of marital infidelity, given everything we know…

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