I bought the 125th Anniversary issue of National Geographic. It has an article called Restless Genes. They are talking about the gene DRD4. It is dopamine. There are negative signs for the gene. I am going to narrow this essay to exploration.
Parts of this are known as the “Novelty Seeking Gene.” You are exploratory and can be impulsive. Probably a good thing for explorers. There is also the idea of “Openness to Experience.” It’s interesting in explaining moving across the world.
The National Geographic article began with discussing Captain Cook and the Polynesian Tupaia, he took on his ship. Tupaia could navigate just by the stars. Cook had to have the tools, such as his sextant, compass, and charts. Tupaia had all this in his head. The 7R version of the gene would have been chosen for nomads, for example. Studies have been done of the Ariaal ethnic group in Kenya (Related to the Samburu and Rendille in Northern Kenya). The Ariaal who still lived the nomadic lifestyle were better fed than those living as settled villagers.
It makes you wonder what will happen with people with such genes and what will they explore next.
Another example was a group of pioneers from Quebec City who went North to the Saguenay Valley. The article explained how they would have leveraged their most restless genes by creating a sub culture that placed premiums on curiosity, toughness and risk taking as well as the physical skills with tools.
Interesting look at how self selection in people may work for certain situations.
- Restless Genes (richarddawkins.net)