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Hypersexuality a medical condition? Scientists find genetic links to compulsive sexual behavior

| | October 2, 2019

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Although it can have a significantly negative impact on a person’s quality of life, whether compulsive sexual behavior qualifies as a medical condition is still a matter of debate.

But does compulsive sexual behavior have any underlying biological factors, and if so, which? Researchers have recently tried to find an answer to this question.

The goal was to find out whether any epigenetic modifications were specific to the participants with compulsive sexual behavior.

The team found two specific DNA regions with particular modifications that were only present in individuals with compulsive sexual behavior. These were associated with MIR708 and MIR4456, the genes that encode the microRNA molecules of the same names.

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One of these forms of microRNA, miRNA4456, normally helps regulate the expression of genes that are involved in the regulation of oxytocin, also called the “love hormone” because it is involved in sexual behavior and pair bonding.

Because the MIR4456 gene is affected in people with compulsive sexual behavior, this could mean that they produce unusually high levels of oxytocin, which may lead to unwanted symptoms. However, the researchers emphasize that, so far, this is only a hypothesis — they have not yet been able to confirm it.

Read full, original post: What is the mechanism behind compulsive sexual behavior

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