The “Wanderlust” Gene

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Do you dream of waking up in a foreign land? Do you have an insatiable appetite for travel? You might have what scientists call the “wanderlust gene”.

The gene, known as the dopamine D4 receptor gene, or DRD4, has been hotly debated in the scientific fraternity as being a true indicator of the “adventure gene”, according to nature.com. It’s been attributed to or associated with “novelty seeking (NS) and substance abuse”.

Having the gene is said to contribute to you being a born traveller. “A variation of this gene, DRD4-7R, is carried by about 20% of the human population and is linked with restlessness and curiosity, along with being associated with ADHD

Communities of people with a history of migrating long distances are likely to have this DNA, according to National Geographic which cited a study led by Chuansheng Chen of the University of California. The study found that the 7R and 2R variants are more commonly found in people whose ancestors travelled great distances, having originated from Africa.

Today, travellers who derive pleasure from seeing the world can possibly attribute the high to a boost of dopamine in the brain.

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