Oh, get your minds out of the gutter. I mean the vasopressin receptor gene, of course. According to some recent research, the longer this gene is in a man’s brain, the more faithful he’ll be. I read about this in yesterday’s New York Post feature comparing the female brain to the male brain.
Several studies, including one at Johns Hopkins, have found that the length of the vasopressin receptor gene, a brain hormone, corresponds to monogamy. The first study was conducted on a prairie vole, which is one of 5% of mammals who are monogamous. A closely related “cousin” called the montane vole is more of a polygamist. Scientists found that the montane vole had a short vasopressin gene while the prairie vole had a longer one. When the scientists injected the trampy montane with a longer gene, he suddenly became a one-woman vole. Scientists have extended the study to human males, finding that the longer the gene (there are 17 known lengths), the more likely a man is to be married or in a monogamous relationship; the shorter, the more likely he is to be a bachelor.
I tried to research how, exactly, this gene is measured. Is there an electrode that can be inserted in the ear or nose? Is invasive surgery necessary? Who wouldn’t voluntarily undergo a little slicey-dicey if it could prevent a lifetime of agony? Any scientists out there? I think this may be the next big unexplored frontier in the field of pre-nuptial contract law.
Come to think of it, wouldn’t this be cause for aggrieved alimony-payers to get their settlements dismissed? “I had no choice! It was my vasopressin gene. In fact, I’m the real victim here.”