July
30
 

Democrat? Republican? It’s in your DNA

More news from the "genetics explains everything" front: the way you vote is genetically determined. James Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and a graduate student, Christopher Dawer, have examined data from twin registries and found that between 53% and 72% of the variation in voting patterns can be traced to genetic influences. Their team also found that how intensely someone identifies with a political party is determined by genetics.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, other researchers are trying to correlate personality data, such as "desire for cooperation", with DNA markers. A bit of a long shot, says David Goldman, a neurogeneticist at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He says that "it's premature at best to attack a complex phenotype like political leanings at the molecular level." ~  Science, July 25

Attributing political affiliations to genetics and the brain has become popular in recent times. Last year, scientists at New York University and UCLA reported that political liberals are better able to handle "informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty", while conservatives "show more structured and persistent cognitive styles". Their research was based upon how quickly students tapped a keyboard. Later on another group came to the same conclusion after examining brain scans.



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