Karolinska Institute 'Divorce Gene' Study Finds Divorce Cause


Swedish scientists have discovered a gene that may explain why some women have a hard time committing, or staying committed, should they marry.

According to UK newspaper The Daily Mail, a team of researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institute examined 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.

The researchers found that women who possessed a variation of the oxytocin receptor gene known as A-allele were less likely to get married due to difficulty bonding with other people. Those with the gene who did marry were were 50 percent more likely to report "marital crisis or threat of divorce."

So what is oxytocin? Called the "cuddle chemical" and "hormone of love and bonding" by scientists, oxytocin promotes feelings of love, bonding and maternal affection in women, who produce it naturally, especially during childbirth and while breastfeeding.

The Swedish scientists believe the A-allele gene affects how women process oxytocin; if a woman can't process the hormone properly, it could affect her ability to bond with others, including her spouse.

It's not the first time the Karolinska Institute has endeavored to find a biological basis for commitment fears. In 2008, lead researcher Hasse Walum's team discovered a link between a variation in the AVPR1A gene -- which has been linked to autism and social interaction -- and the likelihood that men will leave their partners or report marital problems should they wed.

The Swedish study is only the latest research on divorce and commitment. For more divorce findings, click through our top 11 studies of last year:

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