Brave new world of Vasopressin gene therapy


Emory University scientists, taking one species of vole that is one of the extremely rare animals to be actually monogamous, found a gene to boost the effect of Vasopressin, one of the love hormones. Inserting this gene into other voles made them more socially monogamous.

I had heard of this before, and there has been science fiction about couples taking love drugs, but this story made me wonder about how people might try to alter the concept of marriage.

Imagine there was a gene therapy which would improve the chances that you would remain in love with the one you currently love. Might couples want to take it when getting married? (Or, more practically, after a few years of test marriage and before children are begun.)

And more to the point, if this became popular, might there arise pressure to do so, even for those who don't particuarly want it?

One can imagine injecting the virus to deliver the gene at the wedding, truly sealing the bonds of love. (It's unlikely that the romantic idea of transmitting the virus in the first marital kiss would be a good idea.)

But what if it starts coming down to "Honey, why won't you take the gene therapy? Don't you love me enough? I'll take it for you!"

How will we answer that?


It is interesting to note that vasopressin is supressed by alcohol ... apart from a general reduction in inhibitions, could this be one reason why many people are more likely to 'cheat' when intoxicated ?

This is absolutely fascinating. There's a scene in the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera THE SORCERER in which Alexis asks Aline to take a love potion, thus sealing her love for him. She refuses, leading to lots of operatic tenor conflict.

I think there are a lot of men, women out there in order to find what you are looking for, you don't need no genes for that.

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