Scientists have identified that genetic factors can predispose couples to divorce. We all know a friend who despite every outward cause for happiness is miserable in their relationships. Divorce is one of the biggest stress factors in modern life. Divorce is now increasingly common. The research follows.
Scientists have identified a female 'divorce gene' that can identify which women will struggle to commit or have happy relationships.
The Daily Mail reports that Swedish researchers examined the DNA of more than 1,800 women and their patterns. Each couple had been together for more than five years, and were either married or living together.
They found that women who carried a variation of the oxytocin receptor gene, described as A-allele, were 50 per cent more likely to report 'martial crisis or threat of divorce'.
Oxytocin, also known as the 'love hormone' promotes feelings of love and affection. It is produced naturally, but especially during childbirth and breastfeeding to help mothers bond with their babies.
But if women can't process oxytocin properly, this could affect their ability to bond with others - including their partners.
Women who inherit this gene are less likely to get married in the first place, but if they do, there's a greater chance that their marriage won't last.
Lead researcher Hasse Walum from Stockholm's Karolinska Institute said, "We've found evidence that oxytocin can be involved in the regulation of human pair-bonding by showing that variation in the oxytocin receptor gene is linked to how strongly women bond to a partner."
The same team identified the male version of the divorce gene several years ago. Instead of oxytocin, it affects the chemical vasopressin, which influences men's ability to commit and stay faithful.