No Simple Links

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6084, pp. 962
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6084.962-b

Reported linkages of behavioral traits to particular genes indicate that political and economic attitudes might have a genetic component. To explore this possibility in more depth, Benjamin et al. analyzed genotype data from 9836 Swedish twins that had responded to a survey about their economical and political inclinations. Standard twin-based estimates of heritability indicated moderate (30 to 40%) heritability for these traits; however, another method of analysis that relied on dense single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays found that the heritability for these traits was half of that. Overall, the authors' analyses indicated that political and economic preferences are highly polygenic, with individual SNPs contributing only small amounts to the heritability. According to the authors, future research endeavors should include larger samples, better methods of measuring economic and political phenotypes, and a focus on “behavioral phenotypes that are more biologically proximate.”

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109, 10.1073/pnas.1120666109 (2012).

Navigate This Article