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Trends Genet. 2012 Oct;28(10):525-33. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

The genetics of politics: discovery, challenges, and progress.

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Departments of Political Science, Microbiology and Biochemistry, Pennsylvania State University, 307 Pond Lab, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


For the greater part of human history, political behaviors, values, preferences, and institutions have been viewed as socially determined. Discoveries during the 1970s that identified genetic influences on political orientations remained unaddressed. However, over the past decade, an unprecedented amount of scholarship utilizing genetic models to expand the understanding of political traits has emerged. Here, we review the 'genetics of politics', focusing on the topics that have received the most attention: attitudes, ideologies, and pro-social political traits, including voting behavior and participation. The emergence of this research has sparked a broad paradigm shift in the study of political behaviors toward the inclusion of biological influences and recognition of the mutual co-dependence between genes and environment in forming political behaviors.

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