Family History “Kindness” Gene Discovered By Aaron November 21, 2011 Share Share Copy Link Photo: www.latexsens.com It is always interesting to find studies like these. It seems that we are increasingly keen to understand how humans act and how we interact with our family, our friends, strangers and even our animals. We stumbled upon an interesting article on Yahoo News , which says that scientists at the University of Oregon have found that “kindness” could be caused by certain genetic traits and that those traits are recognizable to outsiders at a glance. “Our findings suggest even slight genetic variation may have tangible impact on people’s behavior, and that these behavioral differences are quickly noticed by others,” said lead author Aleksandr Kogan, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. The study observed a group of people who had different types of genes (G, AA, AG, GG) in the rs53576 DNA sequence of oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). This is interesting as oxytocin is sometimes called the “love hormone” as it promotes closer links with other people and other social behaviours. 90% of people who were judged by the neutral observers to be “least trusted” carried the A version of the gene, while 60% deemed “most prosocial” had the GG genotype. “Our study asked the question of whether these differences manifest themselves in behaviors that are quickly detectable by strangers, and it turns out they did.” said Kogan I was talking with someone to get more information on the subject, and when asked what “kindness” meant to him he said “someone respectful.” The answer seems appropriate, however I found that Wikipedia defines this feature as the act or the state of being kind —i.e. marked by goodness and charitable behaviour, mild disposition, pleasantness, tenderness and concern for others, which could be regarded as “generous” The concept could also be understood as someone who is available to be loved … as you can see, within the same situation we always have more than one point of view. What’s your definition of “kind”? What features do kind people have? Do you think that the branches of your family tree are more loaded the gene A (less trusted) or gene GG (kind)? As always, we are keen to hear your comments, either on our blog or through Facebook or Twitter .