Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Genes and risk-taking

People's genetic make-up may influence how much risk they take with their money according to a study by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago. The study looked at the influence of two genes governing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Variations in the dopamine gene are thought to be linked to risk taking while variations in the serotonin gene are linked to anxiety levels. The 60 participants in the study took a DNA test and were given money to invest in a mixture of high- and low-risk investments. Those with the 'anxious' version of the serotonin transporter gene 5-HTTLPR invested 28% less money in the high-risk investment than those without. People with the high risk-taking version of the dopamine gene DRD4 invested about 25% more in risky investments than the other participants. The authors of the study pointed out that a number of other non-genetic factors also influenced people's risk-taking.

You can find out more about this research at

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