A Swedish study on the role genes play in relationship bonding suggests that some men may carry what researchers have called a “divorce gene”, although they say that it does not mean you can necessarily predict whether your husband will want a divorce based on his DNA.
The study was conducted at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, one of Europe’s oldest and highest ranked medical universities. One thousand couples participated in the study, which was inspired by an earlier North American study on field mice that showed genetics played a part in relationship bonding.
Lead researcher Hasse Walum said that researchers examined the association between the vasopressin receptor 1a gene and bonding behavior to see if a similar pattern could be detected in humans. The men in the study who had the gene scored lower on “affection expression” than men without the gene.
Walum said that while these results were “interesting”, they do not necessarily explain why some individuals struggle in relationships. He said that researchers plan to expand the study to search for similar results in women through an association between the oxytocin receptor gene and bonding.