Women with variations in a particular gene are more likely to cheat on their partners, according to a new study which suggests that infidelity may be inherited. Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia found that infidelity may be handed down by parents and grandparents.
They have also identified a single gene which has variations which make women more likely to commit adultery. "Our research clearly shows that people's genetic make-up influences how likely they are to have sex with someone outside their main partnership," Dr Brendan Zietsch, research fellow at the university's school of psychology, who led the
"Isolating specific genes is more difficult because thousands of genes influence any behaviour and the effect of any individual gene is tiny. "But we did find tentative evidence for a specific gene influencing infidelity in women. More research will be needed to confirm this finding," Zietsch said.
The study examined data on more than 7,300 twins aged 18 to 49, all of whom were in long-term relationships, The Telegraph reported. Some 9.8% of the men and 6.4% of women had had two or more sexual partners in the previous 12 months.
The researchers compared the difference in these rates between identical twins, who share all their genes, and non-identical twins, who do not. The results showed that 63% of unfaithful behaviour in men, and 40% in women, was down to inherited genes.
They also found that women with certain variations in a gene called AVPRIA were more likely to be unfaithful. The gene is involved in production of the hormone arginine vasopressin which is known to be involved in the regulation of social behaviour and has been linked to differences in philandering behaviour in voles.