Discover-a-liberal-gene

Discover-a-liberal-gene

Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Or so religious conservatives would have us believe. But liberalism is in our genes. Or so researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and Harvard University would have us believe.

Yes, the inevitable has happened. Just before Election Day—surely not a coincidence—scientists report an association between liberal political views and DRD4, a gene that produces a receptor for the neurotransmitter dopamine. The study in The Journal of Politics, published by Cambridge University Press, examined 2,000 subjects and found a DRD4–liberalism correlation in those who had lots of friends in adolescence.

The lead investigator, U.C. San Diego’s James Fowler, focused on DRD4 because it had previously been linked to “novelty-seeking”. According to a San Diego press release, Fowler reasoned that “people with the novelty-seeking gene variant would be more interested in learning about their friends’ points of views. As a consequence, people with this genetic predisposition who have a greater-than-average number of friends would be exposed to wider variety of social norms and lifestyles, which might make them more liberal than average.”

Hamer also led the group that in 1996 first linked the DRD4 gene to “novelty-seeking”. Lots of other groups have sought to replicate Hamer’s finding, but according to a 2008 review “the strength of evidence for this association remains uncertain.” Meanwhile, DRD4 has also been tied to schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorder, sex addiction, anorexia nervosa, binge eating and, now, liberalism, according to Wikipedia.

Advertisements