The Dopamine Transporter Gene, a Spectrum of Most Common Risky Behaviors, and the Legal Status of the Behaviors [Open Access]

Guo, Guang; Cai, Tianji; Guo, Rui; Wang, Hongyu; & Harris, Kathleen Mullan. (2010). The Dopamine Transporter Gene, a Spectrum of Most Common Risky Behaviors, and the Legal Status of the Behaviors [Open Access]. PLOS ONE, 5(2), e9352. PMCID: PMC2825268

Guo, Guang; Cai, Tianji; Guo, Rui; Wang, Hongyu; & Harris, Kathleen Mullan. (2010). The Dopamine Transporter Gene, a Spectrum of Most Common Risky Behaviors, and the Legal Status of the Behaviors [Open Access]. PLOS ONE, 5(2), e9352. PMCID: PMC2825268

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This study tests the specific hypothesis that the 9R/9R genotype in the VNTR of the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1) exerts a general protective effect against a spectrum of risky behaviors in comparison to the 10R/9R and 10R/10R genotypes, drawing on three-time repeated measures of risky behaviors in adolescence and young adulthood on about 822 non-Hispanic white males from the Add Health study. Our data have established two empirical findings. The first is a protective main effect in the DAT1 gene against risky behaviors. The second finding is that the protective effect varies over age, with the effect prominent at ages when a behavior is illegal and the effect largely vanished at ages when the behavior becomes legal or more socially tolerated. Both the protective main effect and the gene-lifecourse interaction effect are replicated across a spectrum of most common risky behaviors: delinquency, variety of sexual partners, binge drinking, drinking quantity, smoking quantity, smoking frequency, marijuana use, cocaine use, other illegal drug use, and seatbelt non-wearing. We also compared individuals with the protective genotype and individuals without it in terms of age, physical maturity, verbal IQ, GPA, received popularity, sent popularity, church attendance, two biological parents, and parental education. These comparisons indicate that the protective effect of DAT1*9R/9R cannot be explained away by these background characteristics. Our work demonstrates how legal/social contexts can enhance or reduce a genetic effect on risky behaviors.


Sexual Behavior, Contraceptive Use, and Reproductive Health
Biological and Social Interactions


JOUR



Guo, Guang
Cai, Tianji
Guo, Rui
Wang, Hongyu
Harris, Kathleen Mullan



2010


PLOS ONE

5

2

e9352








PMC2825268


4455

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