Researchers from the Rockefeller University have uncovered a breakthrough: a single gene linked to parenting, a.k.a. the mommy gene.
The parenting study published last week involves a group of “mice moms” who were injected with an inhibitor that blocks a specific estrogen receptor in their brains.
“Once the gene was silenced, not only did the moms not nurse or lick their baby pups, but they wouldn’t even move the baby mice back into the cage or fight off a strange intruder,” Ana Ribeiro, one of the authors explained. “In other words, our study shows that, without this gene, the skills to be ‘a good mom’ were lost.”
The same receptor is present in women, leading scientists to believe that a suppressed gene could impact inclination towards motherhood, specifically having and caring for babies. Ribeiro went so far as to say that this gene can be a predictor of what kind of mother a female will become.
So is this the excuse that people, including Betty Draper have waited for? Or will this lead to possible finger-pointing?
“I worry that it could almost invite us to look at someone that does something differently than we do and say, ‘She doesn’t want to breast-feed. She doesn’t have the ‘mommy gene,'” Melissa Lawrence, co-founder of CloudMom explained to ABC News.
While there may be natural inclinations for parenthood, the nature vs. nurture debate comes to mind. So, while there are perhaps genes to predict someone’s propensity for intelligence or “motherhood”, with some effort, the playing field may be leveled after all.