A future nation of altruists?

An Israeli company has discovered a link between altruism and genetics. An “altruistic gene” if you will.


Why are some people more prone to give charity or put themselves in danger in order to help others? A team of Israeli psychologists claim they have the answer – they’ve located the first gene linked to altruistic behavior. According to a study conducted by Prof. Richard Ebstein and colleagues at the Hebrew University and Herzog Memorial Hospital in Jerusalem, a link exists between people who appear selfless and seek to help others, and a gene variant on chromosome No. 11.

Does this mean that altruism can be engineered?

3 thoughts on “A future nation of altruists?

  1. SO does this prove all jews are more selfless then the rest of the world or does it not matter to the rest of the world

  2. Even if this gene creates a genetic predisposition, Humans show a remarkable ability to direct their actions away from such predispositions fairly easily. I wonder how determinative this gene could be.
    Additionally, given that they based the study on respondent’s answers, I wonder if he might have in fact found a “liar’s gene.” Maybe the answers really are a better indicator of how much people exaggerate their own good behavior.
    His work seems to be mre focused on dopamine regulation. If so, then the gene is probably effecting a host of other personality traits, and to call it an “altruism gene” is probably a narrow view.

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