Some of us are better at relationships than others. As someone who has had less than stellar success in past relationship endeavors, I found it very interesting that scientists are now suggesting that being single could actually have a genetic cause.
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Researchers from the Peking University in Beijing have found that people who had a certain variation of the 5-HTA1 gene were much more likely to be single than other people that had a different variation of the same gene. The 5-HTA1 gene has both a ‘G’ variation and a ‘C’ variation. Out of 600 students who were surveyed, 60% of the people with the ‘G’ variation of the gene were single. Now, scientist already knew that the ‘G’ version of the gene naturally produce less serotonin, which affects mood and happiness. Now the conclusion is being made that because of these lowered levels of serotonin, people with the “G” variant gene have a harder time maintaining relationships and getting close to people.
The theory that the researchers developed was that, “As love-related behaviors are associated with serotonin levels in the brain, this study investigated to what extent a polymorphism (C-1019G, rs6295) of 5-HT1A gene is related to relationship status in 579 Chinese Han people. We found that 50.4% of individuals with the CC genotype and 39.0% with CG/GG genotype were in romantic relationship. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the C-1019G polymorphism was significantly associated with the odds of being single both before and after controlling for socioeconomic status, external appearance, religious beliefs, parenting style, and depressive symptoms. These findings provide, for the first time, direct evidence for the genetic contribution to romantic relationship formation.”
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In their report, the researchers went on to say, “As pessimism and neuroticism are detrimental to the formation, quality and stability of relationships, this connection between the G allele and psychological disorders might decrease carriers’ dating opportunities or lead to romantic relationship failure.” In conclusion, the researchers say, “Psychological research shows that personality traits, such as secure attachment orientation and optimism, are also crucial in romantic relationship formation. Here we demonstrate that genetic variants also contribute to the formation of romantic relationships.”
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So, that raises the question: can our genetic really determine our ability to develop lasting relationships? It is an interesting question when facing the physiological aspects of serotonin production, I mean – that makes sense to me. But can a genetic precursor be overcome? Would knowing that you have this specific gene variant change how you approached a relationship? Dr Pam Spurr, a relationship expert, says: “I know that our genetic heritage determines some of our behaviour, but we always have a choice. If someone’s difficulties with dating are flagged up to them, I believe they can learn to interact in a way that will make them more successful in meeting somebody. I feel quite optimistic about that.”
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