With the US midterm elections fast approaching, scientists have found a way to partially explain the differences between liberals and conservatives. Researchers at UCSD and Harvard have identified a gene variant that could predispose carriers to developing politically liberal ideologies, reports the Guardian's Richard Adams. The so-called "liberal gene" — a variant of a dopamine receptor called DRD4 — is linked to a those who seek "novelty," which could lead carriers to seek outside viewpoints and exposure to a wider variety of lifestyles, fostering a more liberal ideology, Adams says. But, simply having the gene variant isn't enough. The study shows that adults with the gene variant were more- or less-liberal depending on how wide a circle of friends they'd had growing up, and that the interaction between DRD4 and its environment also contributed to how liberal they became, Adams says.
The 'Liberal Gene'
Oct 29, 2010