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

Journal article
Authors Hasse Walum
Lars Westberg
Susanne Henningsson
Jenae Neiderhiser
David Reiss
Wilmar Igl
Jody M. Ganiban
Erica L. Spotts
Nancy L. Pedersen
Elias Eriksson
Paul Lichtenstein
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume 105
Issue 37
Pages 14153-14156
ISSN 1091-6490
Publication year 2008
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 14153-14156
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0803081105
Subject categories Physiology

Abstract

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.

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