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Altruism May Be a Genetically-Influenced Quality

Researchers at the University of Bonn have found that people with a certain gene are more likely to be altruistic. The researchers took a genetic sample from study participants, and then asked them to participate in a quiz on memory retention. For this, participants were given five Euros, and invited to donate that amount to a charity. Prof. Martin Reuter described what happened:

“Students with the COMT-Val gene donated twice as much money on average as did fellow students with the COMT-Met variant,” explains Reuter. This is the first time that researchers have been able to establish a connection between a particular gene and altruistic deeds. However, it was already known from studies on twins that altruistic behavior is also partly influenced by our genes.

Link via Hit & Run | Photo by Flickr user meddygarnet used under Creative Commons license

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November 9th, 2010

Stranger to the World


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