Could Genetics Shape Your Political Beliefs?

Could Genetics Shape Your Political Beliefs?  Find more genealogy blogs at FamilyTree.comDo you come from a family that has always voted for a particular political party? There could be a genetic reason that influences people toward one political party and away from an opposing one. That being said, a person’s political beliefs can also be influenced by how their parents presented their own political beliefs.

Genealogists might discover that there are politicians in their family tree. Perhaps you are distantly related to a person who was President of the United States. Maybe your family tree includes suffragettes, or people who participated in political protests, or relatives who ran for their student council in high school or college.

Have you ever wondered where your family’s political beliefs came from? Discover posted an article that might give you some answers to that question. The article is titled “Your Political Beliefs are Partly Shaped by Genetics”. This could explain why you see people on Facebook or Twitter getting into heated political arguments. Each person’s political viewpoints are very deeply entrenched in who they are – right down to their biology.

There was a study done by researchers who focused on a gene called DRD4. This gene carries a genetic code for a dopamine receptor. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter.

Dopamine plays a big role when it comes to “rewards”. Dopamine makes people feel happy. As a result, people seek out the things that trigger their brain to release dopamine, and avoid things that cause their body to release chemicals that make them feel bad. In some cases, this can lead to an addiction to whatever it is that makes a person feel good.

The study on the DRD4 gene found that there was a link between a person’s political views and variations of that gene. However, the connection was only applicable in limited circumstances.

A more recent study delved deeper into the connection between political views and the DRD4 gene. The study involved 1,771 Han Chinese students, each of whom provided a blood or saliva sample. Each student completed a questionnaire about their personality and political views.

The researchers found a strong link between the DRD4 gene and the student’s political orientations. A determining factor was found in a sequence of 48 letters in the genetic code that repeats eleven times in the DRD4 gene. Students with two copies of the 4R version of the gene were significantly more conservative in their political beliefs than were students who had any other version of the DRD4 gene.

Environment also plays a part in a person’s political beliefs, and not in the way that you might think. A different study found that parents who pressure their children to adopt the parent’s political beliefs end up influencing the children to choose opposing beliefs.

Image by Daniel Morrison on Flickr.

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