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Why Your Kid’s Genetic Makeup Might Dictate If They’ll Be A World Traveler

Becoming a parent has a way of killing your wanderlust as much as your regular lust because there’s no such thing as a good kid traveler. They pay for nothing, don’t pack lightly (or themselves), and often expect you to carry them around like another piece of luggage. But as they get older, they might grow into more of a globetrotter — particularly if you were originally one yourself.

Everyone carries a D4 dopamine receptor gene called DRD4, and scientists believe that the frequency of DRD4 in their DNA may have something to do with how many stamps your kid’s passport ultimately has. One study looked at 2,320 individuals from 39 populations and compared the frequency of DRD4 to individual migratory patterns. It found that people who traveled more had a consistently higher proportion of DRD4 than sedentary people. About 20 percent of the human population carries a variation known as DRD4-7r, yet experts put this at 40 to 60 percent in the U.S. — a figure the TSA should totally use as an excuse for all those lines.

The Genetic Reason Your Kid May Grow Up To Be A World Traveler 

Experts think that the reason certain populations have more DRD4 than others could be adaptive, and that it is more likely to occur in modern societies where ancestors migrated longer distances thousands of years ago. Other authorities remain unconvinced, such as Richard P. Ebstein, a professor of psychology at the National University in Singapore, whose research focuses on human behavior genetics. “I think what we all should realize that there isn’t a single gene that makes us adventurous or stick at homes,” he told The Huffington Post. In other words, just because the DRD4 gene can influence wanderlust doesn’t make it the outright cause.

In the past DRD4 and variations of it like 7r have been linked cheating and promiscuity, ADHD, addiction, and even schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder, all issues that could make a person pretty hard to travel with. DRD4 is a mixed bag, much like the suitcase your kid might be living out of one day, so take it as it comes. If your kid wants to be a world traveler when they grow up, you won’t need a genetic test — their credit card statement will tell you all you need to know.

[H/T] Elite Daily