Genes to Blame for Infidelity

Added by on December 6, 2010

It seems that being unfaithful comes down to genes, if a recent report by U.S. scientists is anything to go by.

According to the study, which has discovered a gene that increases the odds of an individual cheating on a partner, the “love rat gene” works in much the same way as, say an addiction to gambling or alcohol. What is different is that in this instance the gene sends out a chemical rush to the individual when he or she is having an affair, rather than when a gambler’s luck changes or when an alcoholic gets a hold of a drink.

Researcher Justin Garcia said: “The motivation seems to stem from a system of pleasure and reward, which is where the release of dopamine comes in.” Garcia and colleagues analysed the attitude towards relationships of 180 young men and women, who were also tested for the DRD4 gene; the love rat gene, which controls level of dopamine in the brain.

The findings revealed that the quarter of participants who had the gene were more than twice as likely to stray than those without the gene. It was also established that when these individuals were unfaithful, they were more likely to be so through one-night stands.

Garcia explained: “In cases of uncommitted sex, the risks are high, the rewards substantial and the motivation variable – all elements that ensure a dopamine ‘rush’.”

The study, published in the PLoS ONE journal, also suggested that cheating partners can still feel committed to their relationship, while feeling a need to be unfaithful.

However, not all individuals with the love rat gene will have one-night stands or be unfaithful, and Garcia added that one’s genetic make-up cannot be used as an excuse for cheating on one’s partner.

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