Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Genetics of Bad Moms

Despite what Jenny McCarthy would have you believe, there is no such thing as an infallible "mommy instinct" when it comes to women rearing their children. The sad reality is that many, many mothers are just shitty at their jobs, electing to drown, neglect, stab, or smother their children willy-nilly. But a group of German scientists have been trying to figure out just what makes moms go bad. They believe it has something to do with serotonin levels in the brain. They altered the genes of several mice to lower their production of the mood-elevating chemical. Then, they compared the parent skills of that group with those of a normal control. Turns out, the serotonin-deficient set were far worse mothers than their unaltered counterparts. How bad were they? Well, they were five times more likely to eat their children. That's right. Eat their children. While I'm sure this isn't an unheard of crime among humans, I'm glad it's not quite as common as, say, refusing to vaccinate your children because a former Playmate told you to. More details here.