Thursday, December 2, 2010

Genetics - Linked To Infidelity, Gambling, and Political Liberalism

Jack Dikian
December 2010

Can people's tendency toward infidelity, uncommitted one-night stands, alcoholism, gambling, some destructive behaviors, thrill-seeking and even political liberalism be explained by genetics?

According to a new study by Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, a dopamine receptor gene, DRD4 is linked to people's tendency toward both infidelity and uncommitted one-night stands

The same gene has already been linked to alcoholism and gambling addiction, as well as less destructive thrills like a love of horror films.

Justin Garcia, a postdoctoral fellow at Binghamton University, State University of New York, Using a detailed history of sexual behavior and relationships from 181 young adults researchers found that individuals with a certain variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity.

The motivation seems to stem from a system of pleasure and reward, which is where the release of dopamine comes in," Garcia said. "In cases of uncommitted sex, the risks are high, the rewards substantial and the motivation variable — all elements that ensure a dopamine 'rush.'"

A recent Israeli study has also found a connection between sex drive and the DRD4 gene. In the study 148 male and female students, researchers from the Hebrew University and the University of the Negev, found that around 30 per cent of those studied carried a variation of the DRD4 gene that also correlates with stronger sex drive.

According to researchers at University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and Harvard University, "ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by DRD4."

The study was led by UCSD's James Fowler and focused on 2,000 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Scientists matched the subjects' genetic information with "maps" of their social networks. According to researchers, they determined that people "with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults."

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