Biology could be a trigger for wanderlust

The DRD4-7R could be responsible for wanderlust. Photo / 123RF
The DRD4-7R could be responsible for wanderlust. Photo / 123RF

We've heard our genes can influence fidelity and reckless behaviour, but could they also trigger wanderlust?

Those claiming they're addicted to exploring the world may not be so far off, a scientific study has revealed.

One biologist has revealed that our ancestors biological background may be the reason for our modern day travel bug.

Years of studies have proven a link between extra dopamine - a compound which works as a precursor of substances including adrenaline - and a tendency to make impulsive decisions.

This excess of dopamine has also been associated with a specific gene, DRD4-7R, which is known to cause people to take risks, explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities.

DRD4-7R, which is only possessed by around 20 per cent of the population, is usually connected to gambling and addiction issues - something that could begin to explain some people's urge and 'need' to travel.

According to travel blog Nomadic Matt, Justin Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute, said that the extra dopamine in the brain may have helped motivate prehistoric man to venture from home, explore, and seek new territories for mates, food, and shelter.

When transferred into today's lifestyle, that need to venture changes into a need to travel and explore.

Adding to his findings, Garcia also reportedly claimed that the DRD4 gene could begin to explain why some people view travelling as exciting - and others deem it terrifying.

He said: "We don't have very clear answers at this point. But we're seeing that some people are just risky in all areas. Lay people might say those people have "addictive" personalities. They always seem to be doing really impulsive things.

"But we also see that others have these predispositions for risk, and they find [just] one domain to express it in.

"Travel could be one. But what domain an individual is going to pick to express that risk is very much going to be driven by environmental factors and social context."

- Daily Mail

- Daily Mail

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