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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Mar;23(2):e108-13. doi: 10.1111/sms.12031. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

The -521 C/T variant in the dopamine-4-receptor gene (DRD4) is associated with skiing and snowboarding behavior.

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School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Sensation seeking is the tendency to seek out new and thrilling experiences and to take risks for the sake of such experiences. A single-nucleotide polymorphism, -521 C/T (rs1800955) in the promoter region of the dopamine-4-receptor gene (DRD4), is associated with approach-related traits including novelty seeking and extraversion, in some, but not all studies. To our knowledge, no studies have been conducted on the genetics of risk-taking behavior in sports. Using a joint-analysis approach, we measured sensation seeking in two cohorts of experienced male and female skiers and snowboarders (n = 503) using a sports-specific tool developed for this study, the Contextual Sensation Seeking Questionnaire for Skiing and Snowboarding (CSSQ-S), and a more general trait measure, the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire impulsive sensation-seeking subscale. We detected, and then replicated a significant association between the DRD4 -521CC genotype and sports-specific sensation seeking as measured using the CSSQ-S (P < 0.001). These data suggest that the DRD4 -521 C/T polymorphism contributes to a "risk-taking phenotype" in skiers and snowboarders, but the variant was not associated with impulsive sensation seeking (P = 0.9).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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