The blogosphere and the news tabloids are abuzz with the latest discovery that Vasoprassin may serve a similar role in humans as it does in prairie voles, when it comes to pair bonding. While , it might be true that ‘if you love someone , set him free’ a more strategic and evolutionary sound strategy is to keep him bound in a pair-bond. The females do this, by somehow , releasing Vasporossin in their partners brain and when this vasporossin binds to its receptors in the Brain, it leads to more bonding and pro-social behavior by the male.
A recent PNAS paper has implicated the vasoprassin receptor gene alleles for some variation in the marital bond. Read the excellent Not Exactly Rocket Science post for more details. Interestingly the gene variant , while conferring lower marital bond probability, also ups the risk for Autism. The mechanism underlying this must therefore be social – as social difficulties in Autistics may be related to this. This leads to the interesting hypothesis that people with Psychosis may have a stronger version o this pair-bonding receptor gene and thus may be less prone to depart ways, once a pis bond has been formed, and this may explain why despite low chances for procreation, the genes for schizophrenia may be carried out as the limited number of offspring’s are more heavily invested in by parents due to a stable pair bond.
But I digress, let this Post be about Love and what better way to celebrate that with a ‘Prairie voles in Love’ poem by Scicurious!