‘Altruism Gene’ Associated With Higher Willingness To Donate

940 words - 4 pages

Option 1: 'Altruism Gene' Associated With Higher Willingness to Donate, Researches FindBased on the article, 100 study subjects were paid for an assigned task and asked to decide if they wanted to donate their earnings. Prior to the test, they were asked to undergo a cheek swab. The DNA extracted from the study subjects' cheek swab was analysed for the COMT gene which contains the construction manual for an enzyme which renders dopamine inactive. Dopamine is responsible for the social behaviour in animals and humans and is linked with positive emotionality. COMT gene is known as two variations - COMT-Val and COMT-Met, which has equal occurrence in the population. However, COMT-Val works more effectively. Students with the COMT-Val gene donated twice as much, confirming that there is a correlation between the gene and altruism deeds.The key assumption that the researchers established is that individuals found with COMT-Val gene has a higher tendency to donate more money as compared to individuals found with COMT-Met gene. The claim suggest that based on a single gene, it is enough to determine its influence on the altruistic behaviour of an individual.The strength of the claim lies with the fact that it is supported by studies that have shown that the two genetic variant were only differentiated by a single block. The frequency of both variant is similar but for individuals with the variant of COMT-Val, the associated enzymes works up to four times more effectively as compared to COMT-Met as reported in the article. (University of Bonn, news release, Nov. 8, 2010) When such claims are supported by scientific findings, it is difficult to refute the stand that it has proven.The weakness of the claim is that there are other variables/factors ignored in this experiment. Despite the fact that it shows consistent results that those subjects with the variant COMT-Val gene donated more money on the average as compared to other subjects with COMT-Met. However, other factors such as background of the subjects were not discussed. Behaviours of an individual cannot be entirely contributed or influenced by a single genetic variant. The key assumption claim of this article however, anchors on one single genetic difference. For example, subjects from a richer background may find it easier to donate than those from a poorer background. Such correlations were not established or presented in this research studies. When such differences were not addressed, it allows people to question the validity of such reports.Connection between such particular genes with altruistic deeds may have been established, but its consistency may not sustain. The relationship between the genes and altruistic deeds may have been formed but yet, its influence and impact have yet been proven in the experiment. The experiment has proven that subjects with COMT-Val may have donated more money but the extent of such genetic influence was not specifically measured in this instance.To...

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