Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shyness Gene

FuturePundit offers the following:

A professor at the University of Maryland Child Development Laboratory claims the short version of a gene involved in metabolism of neurotransmitter serotonin combined with stress creates a shy kid.

In a study published in the February issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, Nathan Fox, professor and director of the Child Development Laboratory, and his team found that kids who are consistently shy while growing up are particularly likely to be raised by stressed-out parents, and to possess a genetic variant associated with stress sensitivity.


He concludes with the view that:
"Suppose this gene's short version works as advertised. When offspring genetic engineering becomes possible will prospective parents choose to make shyness a thing of the past? Will some future generation be anywhere between extroverted and extremely extroverted? If so, what will we lose? My guess is that governments will become more corrupt as people with genetically engineered lack of shyness feel less fear of getting held up to public condemnation."
We are just as the beginning of learning about ourselves. We have only a glimmer of what our findings will mean. Our history shows we have not handled this topic well.

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