DRD4 Gene Related to ADHD Is Good For Nomads But Causes Malnourishment In Villagers

Monday, June 9, 2008 - 23:21 in Biology & Nature

A propensity for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might be beneficial to a group of Kenyan nomads, according to new research published in BMC Evolutionary Biology. Scientists have shown that an ADHD-associated version of the gene DRD4 is associated with better health in nomadic tribesmen, and yet may cause malnourishment in their settled cousins. The DRD4 gene codes for a receptor for dopamine, one of the chemical messengers used in the brain. One version of the DRD4 gene, the '7R allele', is believed to be associated with food craving as well as ADHD. A study led by Dan Eisenberg, an anthropology graduate student from Northwestern University in the US, analyzed the correlates of body mass index (BMI) and height with two genetic polymorphisms in dopamine receptor genes, in particular the 48 base pair (bp) repeat polymorphism in the dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene. read more

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