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The 'Liberal Gene'

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.