Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acting selfish? Blame your mother!

Date:
September 6, 2010
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
The fact that our female ancestors dispersed more than our male ancestors can lead to conflicts within the brain that influence our social behavior, new research reveals.

The fact that our female ancestors dispersed more than our male ancestors can lead to conflicts within the brain that influence our social behaviour, new research reveals.

Scientists from Oxford University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, examined the impact that genes 'knowing' which parent they come from -- a process called 'genomic imprinting' -- has on how selfish or altruistic they want their carriers to be.

A report of their research is published in the journal Evolution.

They found that because, historically, women moved about more than men, and so are less related to their neighbours, our paternal and maternal genes are in conflict over how we should behave -- with our paternal genes encouraging us to be altruistic whilst our maternal genes encourage us to be selfish.

'When women disperse more during their lifetime than men, as seems to be the case for ancestral humans, this leads to you being more related to your neighbours through your father than through your mother,' said Dr Andy Gardner of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, an author of the report.

'This leads to conflicts over social behaviour: the genes you receive from your father are telling you to be kind to your neighbours, whereas the genes you receive from your mother, like a demon sat on your shoulder, try to make you act selfishly.'

Mutations in imprinted genes have previously been linked to growth disorders in infants and, more recently, it has been suggested that they could underpin neurological disorders such as autism and psychosis. This study reveals how such disorders of the social brain can evolve by mutations favouring the expression of paternal genes (favouring altruism) or maternal genes (favouring selfishness).

Dr Gardner said: 'What our research reveals is that the popular idea of someone battling their psychological 'demons', that are telling them to behave in a selfish way, has some basis in our genetic makeup -- we are all coalitions of conflicting genes.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Francisco Úbeda, Andy Gardner. A Model for Genomic Imprinting in the Social Brain: Adults. Evolution, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01115.x

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Acting selfish? Blame your mother!." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905164034.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2010, September 6). Acting selfish? Blame your mother!. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905164034.htm
University of Oxford. "Acting selfish? Blame your mother!." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100905164034.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins