04 setembro 2008

Faithfull David

O Karolinska Institutet emitiu o seguinte press release a propósito do artigo de Hasse Walum publicado no PNAS:

There are of course many reasons why a person might have relationship problems, but this is the first time that a specific gene, variant has been associated with how men bond to their partners", says Hasse Walum, postgraduate student at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

He stresses, however, that the effect of this genetic variation is relatively modest, and it cannot be used to predict with any real accuracy how someone will behave in a future relationship.

Hasse Walum and his colleagues made use of data from 'The Twin and Offspring Study in Sweden', which includes over 550 twins and their partners or spouses. The gene under study codes for one of the receptors for vasopressin, a hormone found in the brains of most mammals. The team found that men who carry one or two copies of a variant of this gene – allele 334 – often behave differently in relationships than men who lack this gene variant.

The incidence of allele 334 was statistically linked to how strong a bond a man felt he had with his partner. Men who had two copies of allele 334 were also twice as likely to have had a marital or relational crisis in the past year than those who lacked the gene variant. There was also a correlation between the men’s gene variant and what their respective partners thought about their relationship.

"Women married to men who carry one or two copies of allele 334 were, on average, less satisfied with their relationship than women married to men who didn’t carry this allele," says Mr Hasse Walum.

The same gene has been previously studied in voles, where it has been linked to monogamous behaviour in males.

"The fact that the corresponding gene has proved important for similar behaviour in voles makes our findings even more interesting, and suggests that the thoroughly studied brain mechanisms that we know give rise to strong bonds between individual voles can also be relevant to humans," he Hasse Walum continuesconcludes.

The team hopes that greater knowledge of the effect of vasopressin on human relations will one day give science a better understanding of the causes of diseases characterised by problems with social interaction, such as autism.

Publication: 'Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans', Hasse Walum, Lars Westberg, Susanne Henningsson, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, David Reiss, Wilmar Igl, Jody M. Ganiban, Erica L. Spotts, Nancy L. Pedersen, Elias Eriksson and Paul Lichtenstein, PNAS Early Edition, 2-5 September 2008.

O ruído foi enorme. Pouca gente leu o abstract

Genetic variation in the vasopressin receptor 1a gene (AVPR1A) associates with pair-bonding behavior in humans

Pair-bonding has been suggested to be a critical factor in the evolutionary development of the social brain. The brain neuropeptide arginine vasopressin (AVP) exerts an important influence on pair-bonding behavior in voles. There is a strong association between a polymorphic repeat sequence in the 5′ flanking region of the gene (avpr1a) encoding one of the AVP receptor subtypes (V1aR), and proneness for monogamous behavior in males of this species. It is not yet known whether similar mechanisms are important also for human pair-bonding. Here, we report an association between one of the human AVPR1A repeat polymorphisms (RS3) and traits reflecting pair-bonding behavior in men, including partner bonding, perceived marital problems, and marital status, and show that the RS3 genotype of the males also affects marital quality as perceived by their spouses. These results suggest an association between a single gene and pair-bonding behavior in humans, and indicate that the well characterized influence of AVP on pair-bonding in voles may be of relevance also for humans.

e quase ninguém o artigo do PNAS. Leram os títulos dos jornais e viram a pilinha do David. A minha amiga R., dos estudos literários, recusa-se a acreditar que o facto “ da vasopressina actuar de modo diferente no arganaz-do-campo ou no arganaz-do-prado"(...) tenha relação com "a propensão mais ou menos comum para a infidelidade entre homens que chegaram à lua e escreveram o Hamlet.”
A indignação percebe-se, embora me faltem os dados sobre o comportamento sexual dos homens que chegaram à lua e escreveram o Hamlet, certamente fiéis como a Sarah Palin e cheios de valores familiares e free-will. Mas, oh almas etéreas envergonhadas das vossas baixas origens: o que é que fazem lá no cérebro do sapiens os receptores da arginina ? Será tudo só testa luzidia, só mentira, só mental?


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