The Genes of Fabulous Financial Traders (2009)

Other researchers, too, are delving into the biomedical complexities of the individuals who make and lose fortunes by trading financial instruments. “Genetic Determinants of Financial Risk Taking,” Camelia M. Kuhnen and Joan Y. Chiao, PLoS ONE, vol. 4, no. 2, 2009, e4362. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0004362 (
(Thanks to Ferran Mir for bringing this to our attention.)

The authors, at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, explain:

Individuals vary in their willingness to take financial risks. Here we show that variants of
two genes that regulate dopamine and serotonin neurotransmission and have been previously
linked to emotional behavior, anxiety and addiction (5-HTTLPR and DRD4) are significant
determinants of risk taking in investment decisions. We find that the 5-HTTLPR s/s allele carriers take 28% less risk than those carrying the s/l or l/l alleles of the gene. DRD4 7-repeat allele carriers take 25% more risk than individuals without the 7-repeat allele. These findings contribute to the emerging literature on the genetic determinants of economic behavior.

(That’s an excerpt from the article “Financial Meltdown,” Published in AIR 15:3.)