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Don't Blame Your Genes for How You Vote

The political season in the US is nearing a fever pitch with the presidential election just about here. A number of past studies have linked certain gene variants to voting behavior, but Evan Charney from Duke University and William English at Harvard University write at Scientific American that that notion is likely hogwash.

"The kinds of studies that have produced many of the findings we question involve searching for connections between behavior and gene variants that occur frequently in the population," they write, adding that "genes predict certain well-defined physiological diseases — such as hereditary breast cancer and the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease — but when it comes to complex human behaviors such as voting, the link is tenuous at best."

Genetic influences on behavior, they add, likely involve thousands of genes that also interact with one another. " The chance that any complex human behavior — such as voting — might have one or two major predisposing genes is practically zero," Charney and English write.

The Scan

Steps for Quick Review

The US Food and Drug Administration is preparing for the quick review of drugs and vaccines for the Omicron variant, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Moving Away From Using Term 'Race'

A new analysis finds that geneticists are using the term "race" in their papers less than in years past, as Science reports.

Point of the Program

The Guardian writes that some scientists have called the design of a UK newborn sequencing program into question.

Science Papers Present Multi-Omic Analysis of Lung Cells, Regulation of Cardiomyocyte Proliferation

In Science this week: a multi-omic analysis of lung cells focuses on RIT1-regulated pathways, and more.