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March 17, 2006

Yes, Virginia, there is a dance phenotype

AVPR1a and SLC6A4 Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated with Creative Dance Performance

Hey everybody, the white lab coats have finally cracked what dancing is all about. (Yeah, yeah; even with posting this humorous introduction, yet still do I proclaim my dorkitude.)

Dancing, integrally related to music, likely has its origins close to the birth of Homo sapiens. The authors hypothesized that there are differences in aptitude, propensity, and need for dancing that may be based on differences in common genetic polymorphisms. Identifying such differences may lead to an understanding of the neurobiological basis of dancing.

Variants of the serotonin transporter and the arginine vasopressin receptor 1a genes were examined in performing dancers, elite athletes, and nonathletes/nondancers. The serotonin transporter regulates the level of serotonin, a brain transmitter that contributes to spiritual experience. The vasopressin receptor has been shown in many animal studies to modulate social communication and affiliative behaviors. Notably, dancers scored high on the Tellegen Absorption Scale, a correlate of spirituality, and the Reward Dependence factor in Cloninger's Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, a measure of empathy, social communication, and need for social contact. Significant differences were observed in allele frequencies for both genes when dancers were compared to athletes as well as to nondancers/nonathletes. These two genes were also associated with scores on the Tellegen Absorption Scale and Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire Reward Dependence, suggesting that the association between these genes and dance is mediated by personality factors reflecting the social communication, courtship, and spiritual facets of the dancing phenotype.

From: PLoS Genetics: "AVPR1a and SLC6A4 Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated with Creative Dance Performance"

Link via Jackie Wong

Posted by joegrohens at March 17, 2006 10:27 PM


Love it! I find this science-meets-art stuff so interesting. Genetic markers for spirituality -?! wow..... Thanks!

Posted by: sharon [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 26, 2006 06:10 PM

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