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Is Infidelity Genetic?

A biologist says that some people are genetically programmed to be unfaithful to their partners. He's found that if one female twin has a history of infidelity, the chances that her sister will too is about 55%, and this is strongest in identical twins, who have the same genes. He studied women instead of men because only about 23% of females are unfaithful. However, another researcher has fond a gene that, when inserted into the brain of a male rodent, can change promiscuous critters into faithful partners.

Researcher Larry Young says, "Our study...provides evidence in a comparatively simple animal model, that changes in the activity of a single gene profoundly can change a fundamental social behavior of animals within a species." He used a harmless virus to transfer a sex hormone gene from monogamous prairie voles into the brains of their non-monogamous relatives, the meadow voles. After the gene transfer, the previously promiscuous meadow voles showed a preference for their current partners.

Geneticist Tim Spector says infidelity makes good sense in evolutionary terms, because in order to get a good mix of genes, women need to be able to chose a better option if one came along. He says, "There is unlikely to be a single gene for anything like this. But there are likely to be genes that participate in it, a number of genes working together, it might be things like risk-taking or those associated with personality."

How to we get into these messes anyway? Well, science shows that love really is blind. A new study by researcher Andreas Bartels proves that feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain that control critical thought. In other words, once we're in love, our brain is less able to think clearly about the character and personality of the loved one. Hey, tell us something we didn't already know.

Learn what real love is, even though it's been kept secret for centuries.

Photo credits: http://www.freeimages.co.uk/

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