Association of Oxytocin Receptor Gene (OXTR) rs53576 Polymorphism with Sociality: A Meta-Analysis

Jingguang Li, Dali University, China
Yajun Zhao, Southwest University for Nationalities, China
Rena Li, Roskamp Institute
Lucas S. Broster, University of Kentucky
Chenglin Zhou, Shanghai University of Sport, China
Suyong Yang, Shanghai University of Sport, China

Published in PLOS One, v. 10, no. 6, article e0131820, p. 1-16.

© 2015 Li et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited


A common variant in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR), rs53576, has been broadly linked to socially related personality traits and behaviors. However, the pattern of published results is inconsistent. Here, we performed a meta-analysis to comprehensively evaluate the association. The literature was searched for relevant studies and effect sizes between individuals homozygous for the G allele (GG) and individuals with A allele carriers (AA/AG). Specifically, two indices of sociality were evaluated independently: i) general sociality (24 samples, n = 4955), i.e., how an individual responds to other people in general; and ii) close relationships (15 samples, n = 5262), i.e., how an individual responds to individuals with closed connections (parent-child or romantic relationship). We found positive association between the rs53576 polymorphism and general sociality (Cohen's d = 0.11, p = .02); G allele homozygotes had higher general sociality than the A allele carriers. However, the meta-analyses did not detect significant genetic association between rs53576 and close relationships (Cohen's d = 0.01, p = .64). In conclusion, genetic variation in the rs53576 influences general sociality, which further implies that it is worthy to systematically examine whether the rs53576 is a valid genetic marker for socially related psychiatric disorders.