Have you inherited your father's pragmatic attitude or maybe the sensitive nature of your mother? How do you explain the fact that your brother is introvert, even though you are the party animal? Personality is a mystery. Scientists keep researching the nurture vs. nature ratio. Meaning, how much our personality is affected by the upbringing and environment and how much by innate potential - our DNA. What are the genes that define the personality? Can we say that the character runs in our genes?
Geneticists have already answered this question thanks to observations of identical twins. As long as identical twins have the same set of genes, it is easy to determine to what extent the DNA affects personality and what is the impact of environment. These studies have shown that our personality is inseparably linked with DNA in 30-60%. It means that bond between personality traits and genes is evident.
Dopamine and adventure gene
Because our personality is determined by the processes occurring in the brain, the most important are genes encoding proteins involved in the transport of neurotransmitters. The first genetic studies of personality trait, conducted in 1997, related to dopamine. It turned out that the impact of the DNA is larger than expected.
One of the genes encoding dopamine receptor is DRD4. During several years of research it has been confirmed that it shows a strong polymorphism and its many variants affect our character and behavior. People with a variant 7R + are born risk-takers. They are constantly looking for new experiences and thrill, are courageous, open to the world and impulsive. They are also positive, relaxed and very active, which makes them often having longer and more satisfying life. At the same time however they have a greater tendency to addictions, and sometimes also - to sexual promiscuity and betrayals. At the opposite extreme are the variants of the DRD4 gene, whose owners are oversensitive and nervous, not comfortable in new situations, have pessimistic attitude.
Serotonin - trust, oxytocin - empathy
Another important neurotransmitter that determines our character is serotonin. The gene encoding its receptor is SLC6A4. Particularly important influence on our personality has a section of 5-HTT, which may have a shorter version - with deletion (allele S), or longer - with insertion (allele L). People with one or two alleles S are more cautious, timid, avoid dangers. Allele L, on the other hand, makes its holder focused on the positive side of life, is more trusting and open.
The impact on our personality and behavior has also oxytocin receptor, encoded by the gene OXTR. This neurotransmitter is associated with our social behavior, determines characteristics such as sensitivity, empathy, generosity and altruism. People, who because of their genotype are governed by oxytocin, have their own world, care about the realization of their dreams and perfectly realize themselves in such professions as inventor, artist or scientist.
Another important neurotransmitter responsible for our character is adrenalin, which receptor is encoded by gene ADRA2A. Features associated with high levels of adrenaline include irritability and impulsiveness. People with a large surplus of adrenaline love strong sensations – excitement induced by risky situation, stimulation by stress or even fear. That's why they give vent to these emotions through extreme sports, hazardous journeys, and sometimes ... in the casino.
Genetic personality profile - how to use it?
What benefits can we derive from the fact that genes define the personality? Does this knowledge have a real value? And finally: how to use this data? Do we have more self-development opportunities by knowing that character is inseparably linked with DNA?
Of course! The result of DNA test and knowledge of personality traits genotype can be very useful. Because it is the best indicator of how to realize your full potential. It prompts to what classes you have natural predisposition and which professions you’ll be the best in. By knowing your DNA and therefore your temperament, you can also avoid self-destructive behavior and coach yourself - to develop your personality in the best possible way.
Start exploring yourself!