Wednesday 12 December 2007
London — Some people are generous because they are genetically destined to have such a personality, new research suggests. Researchers in Jerusalem conducted an online test of 203 people in which the participants could either keep or give away their money.
The researchers found that those who had certain variants of a gene called AVPR1a were on average nearly 50% more likely to give money away, reported the online edition of BBC News.
«The experiment provided the first evidence, to my knowledge, for a relationship between DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid that contains genetic information) variability and real human altruism — selfless concern for the welfare of others», said Ariel Knafo, lead researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The gene AVPR1a plays a key role in allowing a hormone called arginine vasopressin to act on brain cells.
Vasopressin, in turn, has been implicated in social bonding, said the study that appeared in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior.