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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

World

Divorce could be in women's genes
PTI
London, February 26, 2012
First Published: 13:26 IST(26/2/2012)
Last Updated: 14:13 IST(26/2/2012)

Women, please note -- men may not be always at fault in a divorce. The chances of a successful marriage also depends on a female's genetic make-up, so says a new study.

This is after researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden claim to have, for the first time, identified a female 'divorce gene' that can predict a rocky marriage and identify women who may struggle to commit to their partner.

Women who inherit the variation of a common gene are less likely to get married in the first place as they find it harder to bond with other people, the Daily Mail reported.

But if they do marry, they are 50% more likely to report a troubled relationship filled with marital strife. Perhaps unsurprisingly, partners of women with the gene are also more likely to report being unhappy, says the study.

According to the researchers, the gene affects how women process the 'cuddle hormone' oxytocin, which is known to promote feelings of love and maternal affection.

Women produce oxytocin naturally, particularly during childbirth and while breastfeeding. It helps them bond with their baby. But if women cannot process oxytocin properly, they may not be able to bond normally with other people -- including their partners, friends and children, they say.

'We've found evidence that oxytocin can be involved in the regulation of human pair-bonding by showing that variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is linked to how strongly women bond to a partner," lead researcher Hasse Walum said.

In fact, the researchers have based their findings on an analysis of the DNA of more than 1,800 women and their partners. Each couple had been together for more than five years, and were either married or living together.

Women who were identified as carrying the variation of the oxytocin receptor gene, described as the A-allele, were 50% more likely to report 'marital crisis or threat of divorce. Men married to these women were also far less satisfied in their relationships, the study found.


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