The Journal of Politics

ARTICLES

A Genome-Wide Analysis of Liberal and Conservative Political Attitudes

Peter K. Hatemia1, Nathan A. Gillespiea2, Lindon J. Eavesa3, Brion S. Mahera4, Bradley T. Webba5, Andrew C. Heatha6, Sarah E. Medlanda7, David C. Smytha8, Harry N. Beebya9, Scott D. Gordona10, Grant W. Montgomerya11, Ghu Zhua12, Enda M. Byrnea13 and Nicholas G. Martina14

a1 United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney and Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a2 Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

a3 Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

a4 Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

a5 Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

a6 Washington University St. Louis

a7 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a8 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a9 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a10 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a11 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a12 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a13 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

a14 Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Abstract

The assumption that the transmission of social behaviors and political preferences is purely cultural has been challenged repeatedly over the last 40 years by the combined evidence of large studies of adult twins and their relatives, adoption studies, and twins reared apart. Variance components and path modeling analyses using data from extended families quantified the overall genetic influence on political attitudes, but few studies have attempted to localize the parts of the genome which accounted for the heritability estimates found for political preferences. Here, we present the first genome-wide analysis of Conservative-Liberal attitudes from a sample of 13,000 respondents whose DNA was collected in conjunction with a 50-item sociopolitical attitude questionnaire. Several significant linkage peaks were identified and potential candidate genes discussed.

(Received June 05 2009)

(Accepted February 11 2010)

(Online publication January 14 2011)

Footnotes

Pete Hatemi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.

Nathan A. Gillespie is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond VA 23298.

Lindon J. Eaves is a Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond VA 23298.

Brion S. Maher is an Assistant Professor at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond VA 23298.

Bradley T. Webb is an Assistant Professor at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond VA 23298.

Andrew C. Heath is the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Psychology, Washington University St. Louis 63110.

Sarah E. Medland is a Research Officer, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

David C. Smyth is a Technical Officer, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

Harry N. Beeby is a Technical Officer, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

Scott D. Gordon is a Staff Scientist, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

Grant W. Montgomery is Head of the Molecular Lab, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

Ghu Zhu is a Research Officer, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

Enda M. Byrne is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

Nicholas G. Martin is Director of Genetic Epidemiology, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane AU 4029.

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