Chromosome 11: gene for dopamine receptors, Matt Ridley
Interviewee: Matt Ridley.
This gene on chromosome 11 appears to influence personality. The protein produced from this gene is a receptor for the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine pathways control many aspects of the brain, including blood flow. If this gene contains many repeated sequences the person is less responsive to dopamine and more likely to seek external "thrills" in their lives.
(DNAi Location: Genome > Tour > Genome spots > Chromosome 11: dopamine receptor > A chromosome 11 story)
On chromosome 11, there's a gene for one of the receptors for dopamine, which is one of the chemicals that defines the mood in the brain. It comes in several different varieties in different people – longer or shorter varieties of the gene. The people with longer versions of this gene tend to have a lower responsiveness to dopamine. And this seems to me that they seek out thrills in the world a bit more. It actually changes their personality so that they're more adventure seeking. People with a shorter version of this gene tend to be a little more cautious in their approach to the world.