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One Gene, Many Indiscretions

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Where would L.A. be without divorce? The sound of crickets would be heard from the offices of Hollywood gossip magazines, Beverly Hills attorneys would find themselves suddenly slumming it in Mar Vista, and Aaron Spelling would be out of a career. The horror!

But a new study is cause enough to wonder if we may be in for some changes of the like: Swedish researchers have isolated a gene in men which appears to be responsible for how likely they are to commit.

The study, published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, tested 552 pairs of male twins for different variations of the gene, called vasopressin 1a:

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The men were subjected to psychological tests assessing their ability to bond and commit, and the researchers also interviewed the men's spouses when possible. They found that men with a certain variant...of the vasopressin 1a gene...tended to score especially low on a standard psychological test called the Partner Bonding Scale. They were also less likely to be married than men carrying another form of the gene.

It's almost enough to make one want to grab one's own man and drag him to a clinic to be tested for said variation - an industry no doubt waiting to happen, should news of this study become popularized. But experts warn against rushing into any high-priced bloodwork just yet:
All of these findings "make sense," said Dr. John Lucas, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

But, he says, "'It's unlikely to be a single gene [at work] -- it's likely to be multiple genes that are expressed incompletely and interact with the environment.'"

Looks like you divorce lawyers are safe for now.

Photo by Libertinus via Flickr