A genome-wide analysis of liberal and conservative political attitudes

Peter K. Hatemi, Nathan A. Gillespie, Lindon J. Eaves, Brion S. Maher, Bradley T. Webb, Andrew C. Heath, Sarah E. Medland, David C. Smyth, Harry N. Beeby, Scott D. Gordon, Grant W. Montgomery, Ghu Zhu, Enda M. Byrne, Nicholas G. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The assumption that the transmission of social behaviors and political preferences is purely cultural has been challenged repeatedly over the last 40 years by the combined evidence of large studies of adult twins and their relatives, adoption studies, and twins reared apart. Variance components and path modeling analyses using data from extended families quantified the overall genetic influence on political attitudes, but few studies have attempted to localize the parts of the genome which accounted for the heritability estimates found for political preferences. Here, we present the first genome-wide analysis of Conservative-Liberal attitudes from a sample of 13,000 respondents whose DNA was collected in conjunction with a 50-item sociopolitical attitude questionnaire. Several significant linkage peaks were identified and potential candidate genes discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-285
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


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