Deep rooted: Mother's empathy linked to 'epigenetic' changes to the oxytocin gene. Parenting behavior is deeply linked to the ability to empathize with one's children. Thus, to better understand why certain parents react to certain situations in a certain way, it is crucial to gain insight into how empathy is shaped. Scientists have now shed light on the interconnectedness among the oxytocin gene, brain structure, and maternal empathy. Source 8q.