The Philandering Gene

12 Nov

Let’s play with a hypothetical question concerning genetics and philandering, if we may. Let’s also use time frame rather liberally, and say that the prevalence/allowance of abortion in society preceded the prevalence of divorce.

In the pre-abortion and contraceptive period, this gene would be allowed greater license to spread as males sow their seed in many different women and women have no choice but to give birth to these children, with the males bearing this gene.

Because the pregnancy and nurturing period for women is long and eggs limited, we understand that the amount of offspring women may have is considerably limited. We also know that this gene would not affect the population ratio when it exists in women due to this fact – women who sleep with multiple men could not have more children than women who have only one mate each.

However, for men, this is different. Men who have a tendency to settle with one woman would be disadvantaged progeny-wise compared to men who do not feel such an impulse. A society pre-abortion/contraceptive would be conductive towards increasing people with the philandering gene among the entire population.

Then abortion and contraceptives came along. This gave men and women the choice of not having children.  Women can now decide to abort children they cannot support on their own, who are not the progeny of their husband, or never conceive them in the first place. Philandering men usually  don’t bear in mind the goal of having a lot of children, so they are likely accept contraceptive use as well. This would be inductive towards increasing the non-philandering gene from males in a population.

However, assuming that divorce as a widely acceptable practice came along after abortion, the balance would be tipped back again. Men with the philandering gene are less likely to object to marriage since it is not a constant. In marriage, women don’t tend to object with having children. When men with the philandering gene decide to leave their legal mates and form other mates, they increase the chance of spreading their gene with a new family/woman. We must consider this with the fact that philandering men tend to go for younger women, this quality usually means they are physically more capable of having children. We might say that the wide acceptance of divorce in society increases the spread of the philandering gene.

Of course, philandering may be a polygenic inheritance (an additive effect of two ore more genes on a single phenotypic character), not limited to the Y chromosome, multifactoral (triggered under certain environments), or cultural rather than genetic.

On another note, we don’t have to follow the time frame (birth control predates wide-spread divorce) set in the hypothesis to follow the logic of this.


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