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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.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.