Since most of the families listed here were early pioneers are they more likely to have the exploratory - novelty-seeking variation of the D4-7 allele (part of the dopamine gene)?

Note: This is not intended to be a political statement on capitalism; It was just an e-mail referencing this book that caused me to look into the research on this gene.

Peter C. Whybrow, M.D., the head of UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, authored "American Mania: When More Is Not Enough" in 2005.

DNA's exploratory novelty-seeking variation of the D4-7 allele (part of the dopamine gene) may have an effect on overconsumption.
People groups who were early migrators tend to have this variation more often than the regular population.

Review excerpts and quotes from related articles:
Peter Whybrow's, MD, groundbreaking book, American Mania: When More Is Not Enough, is the first work to approach the American national obsession with materialism and overconsumption from the multiple perspectives of economics, philosophy, psychology, and neurobiology. The author effectively presents the case for a neurobiological connection to current societal trends.

Whybrow diagnoses a form of clinical mania in which "the dopamine reward systems of the brain are... hijacked" by pleasurable frenzies like the Internet bubble. Americans are particularly susceptible because they are descended from immigrants with a higher frequency of the "exploratory and novelty-seeking D4-7 allele" in the dopamine receptor system, which predisposes them to impulsivity and addiction.

The geneticist Luigi Luca Cavali-Sforza of Stanford University and his colleagues have provided a genetic mapping of the geographical dispersal of homo sapiens from their original home in Africa. Subsequently, Dr. Chauseng Chen of the University of California, Irvine, found that a coherent pattern emerges from this mapping "where those who stayed close to their original homeland have a higher percentage of the common D4-4 allele in the population and a lower prevalence of the exploratory and novelty-seeking D4-7 allele."

The D4 dopamine receptor is located on chromosome 11p15.5, so isn't included in our Y chromosome genealogy tests.

America with three centuries of continuing and substantial immigration would have a higher proportion of the migratory gene in its population.

Risk taking and novelty seeking are of course also the hallmarks of the merchant and the entrepreneur.

The most extreme form of risk-taking and novelty-seeking behavior to which the gene predisposes its bearers: addictive behavior which often descends into manic depression (bipolarity)

However, novelty seekers do not make good farmers. Having over the centuries honed agricultural techniques to the natural variations of soil and place and the rhythms of the climate, the ancient sedentary agrarian civilizations of Eurasia do not have this variation of D4-7.

Review of American Mania: When More Is Not Enough at
Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century talks about genetic mapping of the geographical dispersal of homo sapiens.

Return to Califorina Settlers.

last updated 20 June 2007