The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden recently released a study which compared gene expression in heterosexual men and the effect on monogamy. The gene R33-334 can have several genetic expressions or alleles. The possible allele 334 expressions are none, one, or two copies. What makes this gene interesting is the role in the brain-based hormone vasopression, which is notable for its impact on bonding.
Female partners reported higher satisfaction levels in relationships where the allele was absent, or none. While the presence of one allele created an increased chance of marital distress, the presence of two alleles doubled the chance of marital distress.
The R33 gene has been identified in voles (small rodents similar to mice). Prairie voles were compared to meadow voles with some interesting behavioral differences. The prairie voles tended to maintain monogamous relationships. The meadow voles were noticeably promiscuous. The difference found among the male voles was the expression of the gene R33. With the allele expression of one or two, the meadow voles where swinging single all over the grass.
While the study acknowledges that more research is needed, the layman assumption gaining popularity in recent media is that men may be more or less genetically programmed to be monogamous. Titles coming close to Genetically Programmed to Cheat are splashing news ezines. Often these articles include a relationship expert with two sentences stating that choice and character should not be ignored in this newest nature versus nurture debate.
While a genetic printout prior to a first date becomes ever-increasingly more attractive, including a full blood scan for disease, it just isn’t socially demanded (yet). Along with a personality profile from dating services, perhaps a health record might be available. Think back to a “simpler” time when marriage licenses required a blood test and screening for most STDs.
Although this health information seems practical prior to falling in love, problems of privacy immediately jump to mind. Besides, can you imagine the black market for fake genetic papers filling the Internet market similar to prescription drugs and fake IDs? The shady figure in that black, windowless, kidnapper van who creates fake IDs for underage drinkers may turn to printing up fake Karotypes.
So I ask the humble question, what are men? Are they mice or men? I suggest modern medicine. Why not create a hormone control pill (a la birth control for women) to trick the man’s body into a higher level of bonding? If it is the hormone’s effect that creates the difference between marital success and distress, why not start men on a steady diet of hormone therapy? Mix in a little vitamin B12 and Viagra when desired.
Let us continue on with Western medicine’s approach of pill creation for every human tendency that appears undesirable, and let us medicate to submission. Let us see the human condition through our myopic, ethnocentric lens of now, and reject any behavior that is displeasing. Women, wives, ladies, I call for you to change your partner’s cheating ways with a good dose of drugs. Men, submit!