The Influence of Genetic Variation on Social Disposition, Romantic Relationships and Social Networks: a Replication Study.
Pearce E., Wlodarski R., Machin A., Dunbar RIM.
Objectives: Sociality is underpinned by a variety of neurochemicals. We previously showed, in a large healthy Caucasian sample, that genes for different neurochemicals are typically associated with differing social domains (disposition, romantic relationships and networks). Here we seek to confirm the validity of these findings by asking whether they replicate in other population samples. Methods: We test for associations between the same 24 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and measures of sociality as previously, in two smaller independent samples: Caucasian individuals with histories of mental illness (subclinical sample) (N = 140), and non-Caucasian individuals (N = 66). We also combined the relevant SNPs and social measures into 18 distinct neurochemical/social domain categories to examine the distribution of significant associations across these. Results: In the subclinical Caucasian sample, we confirm previous associations between (i) specific oxytocin and dopamine receptor gene SNPs and sexual attitudes and behavior, and (ii) two SNPs associated with dopamine receptor 2 and feelings of inclusion in the local community. In the non-Caucasian sample, we replicate the previous association between an oxytocin receptor SNP and anxious attachment. More generally, chi-squared tests indicated that the distribution of significant associations for each neurochemical across the three social domains did not differ significantly between the original sample and either of the new samples, except for oxytocin in the non-Caucasian sample. Conclusions: These results corroborate both the SNP-specific and broader neurochemical associations with particular facets of sociality in two new populations, thereby confirming the validity of the previous findings.