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Have researchers found the 'liberal gene?'

By R. Francis Rubio     Oct 28, 2010 in Politics
San Diego - The results are in. A new study by researchers show that having a liberal political outlook may be partly attributed to your genes, well actually just one gene in particular.
In a joint study conducted by the University of California and Harvard University, researchers found that ideology may no be only determined by social factors, it also may be linked to a variant of the gene called DRD4.
The dopamine receptor gene previously linked to risk-taking behavior, may also (according to the study) greatly affect a persons political tendencies and sway them to be more liberal as an adult.
Although, there is a twist, the researchers found this only being the case if they have an active social life during adolescence with a lot of friends in high school.
James H. Fowler of UC, San Diego, the lead researcher of the study along with his colleagues believe that people with the gene variant "7R" would have more interest in learning about their friends point of view, subsequently acquiring more friends, and exposing them to a greater number of social activities possibly making them more liberal than average.
"It is the crucial interaction of two factors - the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence that is associated with being more liberal," cites the report. This is held true independent of ethnicity, culture, sex and age.
The research focused on 2,000 subjects participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and appeared in the latest edition of the Journal of Politics published by Cambridge University Press.
The study mapped the genetic information of the subjects along with their social network activity and were able to show that the subjects with the "7R" variant of the gene and also more active socially were more likely to be liberal as adults.
Fowler's conclusion is that a person's social environment cannot entirely explain their political views and a genetic role must be taken in account. Saying, "these findings suggest that political affiliation is not based solely on the kind of social environment people experience."
He also adds...“It is our hope that more scholars will begin to explore the potential interaction of biology and environment. The way forward is to look for replication in different populations and age groups.”
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