GivingTracker| Researchers in Bonn find that the ‘altruism gene’ COMT-Val is associated with a significantly higher willingness to donate. People with this gene variant, rather than COMT-Met, gave twice as much money on average to charity in the new study.
About 100 students took a ‘retention test’, receiving a sum of five Euros for participation. Prior to the exercise, each study subject gave a saliva sample, allowing researchers to check for the gene variation described above.
When they received payment of the five Euros, there was no pressure not to take the money. But a charitable offering was given as an alternative, and the subject was left alone to make the decision privately. Researchers knew how much money was in the can, and could verify when it grew by 5 Euros.
“Students with the COMT-Val gene donated twice as much money on average as did fellow students with the COMT-Met variant,” explains Reuter. This is the first time that researchers have been able to establish a connection between a particular gene and altruistic deeds. However, it was already known from studies on twins that altruistic behavior is also partly influenced by our genes. via Science Daily