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No Genes for Voting

In a recent American Political Science Review paper, Duke University's Evan Charney and Harvard University's William English refute the idea that "two genes predict voter turnout," as reported by the University of California, San Diego's James Fowler and Christopher Dawes in The Journal of Politics in 2008.

In a Duke press release, Charney says that "the study of Fowler and Dawes is wrong. … Two genes do not predict turnout." Charney adds that he and English "reran the study using all of their assumptions, equations, and data and found that their results were based upon errors they made. When we corrected the errors, there was no longer any association between these two genes and voter turnout."

In their paper, Charney and English also "consider a number of difficulties, both methodological and genetic, that beset the use of gene association studies, both candidate and genome-wide, in the social and behavioral sciences," they write.

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