August 19, 2010

Add Health Research on Genetic Factors that Influence Behavior

US News & World Report published an article from ScienceNews which discusses the presentation of research by CPC Fellows Guang Guo and Kathleen Mullan Harris at a recent meeting of the American Sociological Association. The findings suggest teenage boys with two copies of a particular gene variant are less likely to engage in risky behaviors than their counterparts who carry at least one copy of a different version of the gene. The findings show that once the behavior becomes socially acceptable or legal the likelihood to engage becomes more even between the two groups. The results are especially significant in that they show the possibility of a level of genetic protection from unsafe social behaviors.

Guo is Professor of Sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Harris is James Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill and Interim Director of CPC. Matt Bradshaw, CPC Postdoctoral Scholar, also commented on the study in the story.

The study was published in PLoS ONE in February 2010.

The full article can be read here. It originally appeared here.

News source:

Bower, Bruce. “Sociologists looking at risky behavior plunge into the gene pool” ScienceNews (August 15, 2010)

Bower, Bruce. “Sociologists looking at risky behavior plunge into the gene pool” US News & World Report (August 16, 2010)

Study source:

Guo, Guang, Cai, Tianji, Guo, Rui, Wang, Hongyu, Harris, Kathleen Mullan. (2010) The Dopamine Transporter Gene, a Spectrum of Most Common Risky Behaviors, and the Legal Status of the Behaviors. PLoS ONE 5(2): e9352. February 2010.