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Dissecting The Truth Behind The 'Wanderlust Gene'

Travelers Today       By    JC Santos

Updated: Mar 07, 2017 04:17 AM EST

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Scientists have found a gene that controls motivation and behavior-affecting dopamine levels in the brain that causes restlessness for individuals who travel to their own accord. Other studies conclude that individuals with the "wanderlust gene" have "a specific passion to travel."

According to The Daily Star UK, a study led by Chuansheng Chen named "Population Migration and the Variation of Dopamine D4 Receptor Allele Frequencies Around The Globe" published in the "Evolution & Human Behavior" journal indicates that the DRD4-7r variant of genes is confirmed by scientists as the "Wanderlust Gene." It occurs mainly in individuals who live in New Zealand, Hawaii or north-west Africa -- indicating they strongly have the urge to travel, in theory.

The study highlights that the DRD4 gene's general variant controls the level of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine increases concentration levels in people and is widely associated with behavior and motivation.

Despite the existence of the study, Chen's team did not directly point to DRD4-7r or the DRD4 gene as widely responsible for raising dopamine levels for motivates to migrate to other countries. Huffington Post, publishing Map Happy's take on the "Wanderlust Gene," said Chen's study only focused on illustrating that the seven-repeat variant of DRD4 motivates individuals differently, but is not the direct cause of feeling the need to travel.

The DRD4 study and other gene and chemical studies correlate only to hints of motivation in human behavior, which include wanderlust. The DRD4-7r is a "blunted" dopamine receptor, meaning individuals who have this gene variant need bigger amounts of dopamine to keep warm and happy. That means doing grander, exciting activities often found during vacations and travels.

Map Happy said that it is easy to tie the particular DRD4-7r gene to be a motive for travel but unless there is a specific case study of observing the DRD4 genes of backpackers and mountain climbers for a single year, anything about the DRD4-7r could be true.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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dopamine, wanderlust gene, travel gene, gene for travel, travel genes, hereditary travel genes
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