Personal Genomes

My rs53576 SNP Genotype Indicates I Am Pro-social — Phew.

I just came across the paper from Kogan, A., et al. (2011) in PNAS that states that “individuals who are homozygous for the G allele of the rs53576 SNP of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene tend to be more prosocial than carriers of the A allele.” Wanting to determine my genomic horoscope prediction of the month, I decided to check my allele status as well as the ones for other members of my family. Luckily, this SNP is among the ones that 23andMe analyzes in versions 2 and 3 (my chip version was 2 and rest of my family was 3).

To my pleasant surprise, all of my family are GG, except my aunt who is AG.

Family genotype for rs53576 SNP using myKaryoView. Clicking on graph features popups are released with type_id (genotype) information. Grouped popups include mine, sister, dad, mum. Independent, aunt.

In a post about the Kogan et al paper, Suzanne Elvidge writes that oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, makes us feel good. It’s released during sexual intercourse, pair bonding and breastfeeding, and our levels (and the dog’s levels) rise when we stroke our pets. The oxytocin gene may also make us more optimistic. Differences in our responses to oxytocin seem to affect how empathic we are – so if you are a nice person, it might be (at least a little bit) down to your oxytocin gene.

Maybe my aunt’s temperament may not be just a consequence of her having red hair.

Tita, te quiero!

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