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Books, Journals, New Media
September 18, 2002

Genetics and PersonalityMolecular Genetics and the Human Personality

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2002;288(11):1411-1412. doi:10.1001/jama.288.11.1411-JBK0918-2-1

During the past decade, there has been considerable interest in identifying genes associated with facets of human personality. The seminal event that sparked this interest was the publication of two papers in 1996 reporting highly significant associations between the gene that codes for the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) and the personality trait of "novelty seeking."1,2 These papers provided evidence that individuals with genotypes containing the seven-repeat allele of the DRD4 16-amino acid repeat polymorphism were more likely to report higher levels of novelty seeking behaviors, a trait characterized by impulsiveness, exploration, and excitability. Variation in personality characteristics having long been conjectured to be based upon the intermingling of environmental influences and genetic makeup, the discovery ignited public curiosity and set the stage for a series of studies investigating the link between specific candidate genes and multiple aspects of human personality.3,4 Because of the dramatic increase in the number of these studies, it has been difficult to fully assess the state of the field, and a full-length treatment is certainly warranted.

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