Wanderlust, a game of genes



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There are some people who just can’t sit still, who are bitten by the wanderlust bug and are constantly on the move. It seems that they are just born to travel. Well, they are, literally, because of one very particular gene, DRD4-7R which is associated with the dopamine levels in the brain. Dubbed the ‘wanderlust gene’, it is a major reason that leads to an inherent urge to move out and explore. People with this gene share one thing in common- a vivid history of travel.

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As per recent studies, people with the DRD4 gene have behaviours hinting at wanderlust and the propensity to travel. They are blessed with traits such as novelty, a constant urge for adventure, risk-taking attitude, impulsivity and sensitivity towards the environment. This means, that they see themselves as a citizen of the earth and cannot be restrained to a particular lifestyle, society or terrain. In short, their sense of belonging transcends the boundaries of caste, class and geography. Theirs is the world!

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So how does it happen? As mentioned earlier, DRD4 is essentially a dopamine gene, which means it is related to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Remember the feelings of pleasure or motivation that you get- well, that’s nothing but dopamine working wonders with your brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that makes us feel good. Also, this gene is not at all common and is found in only 20 percent of the population. Much high prevalence of this gene has been found in those areas of the world where travel has been encouraged in its past.

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This gene not only makes its carriers creative, pioneering and reeking of leadership qualities, but also utterly out of control. These people usually travel on whims, which obviously is more fun, but can put you in serious trouble at times. These are the people who are daring enough to quit their jobs and leave the comfort of their homes and go on a long, unplanned journey. So if you are getting those urges, well, now you know you can put it on the genes!

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