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Is Cheating on Your Partner Genetic? 

November 8, 2015
Plain English Version


New studies say that it is — a little. It is always hard to know what causes certain kinds of behavior. The struggle is always between nature and nurture. Nature is what you are at birth. Nurture is the environment in which you grew up.

Things like addiction to drinking, smoking and using drugs seem to be built into people. Even after knowing how bad these habits are, people continue to do them.

Skilled athletes, musicians and artists also seem to have inborn traits. The ability and willingness to train for many years also are needed. These are partly inborn personality traits.

A study in Australia looked at identical and fraternal twins. Identical twins have the same genomes (genes) or DNA. Fraternal twins share about half their genes. The study looked at twins who had had only one sexual partner during the past year.

The study found that, over the next year, 10 percent of the men and 6 percent of the women had more than one sexual partner. Identical twins tended to behave the same way as his/her twin. They either did or did not have more than one partner. Fraternal twins did not tend to behave the same way as his/her twin.

Scientists say the difference lies partly in our genes. Genes are the code that assembles us at birth. They believe genes affect how strongly we bond to our partners. They know some genes are linked to bonding and sexual behavior.

Culture and environment also matter. Why people behave the way they do will continue to be a subject of considerable research.

Source: The Washington Post November 6, 2015

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