Association between the dopamine D4 receptor gene exon III variable number of tandem repeats and political attitudes in female Han Chinese

Richard P. Ebstein, Mikhail V. Monakhov, Yunfeng Lu, Yushi Jiang, Poh San Lai, Soo Hong Chew

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Twin and family studies suggest that political attitudes are partially determined by an individual's genotype. The dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) exon III repeat region that has been extensively studied in connection with human behaviour, is a plausible candidate to contribute to individual differences in political attitudes. A first United States study provisionally identified this gene with political attitude along a liberal-conservative axis albeit contingent upon number of friends. In a large sample of 1771 Han Chinese university students in Singapore,we observed a significant main effect of association between the DRD4 exon III variable number of tandem repeats and political attitude. Subjects with two copies of the 4-repeat allele (4R/4R) were significantly more conservative. Our results provided evidence for a role of the DRD4 gene variants in contributing to individual differences in political attitude particularly in females and more generally suggested that associations between individual genes, and neurochemical pathways, contributing to traits relevant to the social sciences can be provisionally identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20151360
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1813
Publication statusPublished - Aug 5 2015



  • Candidate gene
  • DRD4
  • Dopamine
  • Political ideology
  • Social attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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