Being a Good Mom? It’s In the Genes

Photo Credit: Veer
Photo Credit: Veer

We all know about mom jeans. You know, those way too high-waist, tight-in-the-crotch pants that you think are flattering. But now, scientists think they’ve found a different, more important type of mom gene.

Researchers at Rockefeller University believe a single gene, referred to as the “mommy gene,” could be responsible for motivating women to protect, feed and raise children. In the study, published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists injected a group of “mice moms” with an inhibitor that blocks a specific estrogen receptor in their brains, essentially “turning off” the gene. Once the mice received the blocker, they simply stopped caring for their babies.

“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, told Today.com. “In other words, our study shows that, without this gene, the skills to be ‘a good mom’ were lost.”

Some may be quick to dismiss findings from mice. However, Ribeiro notes that the same alpha estrogen receptor is expressed in women, and that suppressing this gene could affect a woman’s maternal behavior. She believes some women carry this gene and some don’t.

While more research needs to be done, it’s clear that there is something that makes women “good” at motherhood. And I don’t think it’s the denim.

Do you think the mommy gene exists? Do you know anyone who you think might not have it?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Are You Ready for a Baby?

You Know You’re a Mom When . . . 

Biggest Mommy Regrets