"A travel gene? Who knew genes can compel some of us to wander the earth, seek new adventure and hate to sit still? In my family we referred to it as "ants-in-the-pants". Well now new science and migratory history explains that some of the human population is just naturally coded to "get up and go". All thanks to ADD and long alleles.
This is possibly the best news ever ... for me.
There are some people who never feel the urge to leave their home. They’re content growing up in one place, going to college in the same place, sitting on the same couch, and surrounding themselves with the same people. I've never understood them, nor they me. Then there are the folks who if they DO travel, head to DisneyWorld and think a nice visit to EPCOT is the same as visiting abroad. (I once overheard a woman saying this to her husband. I am NOT kidding.)
On the other end of the spectrum are the wanderlusters like me, who just can't travel enough. By boat, plane, train or on foot - we have to go! And if I am not on the go, I am planning to go. I have moved more than anyone I know - outside of a military family.
Some find my wanderlust urge unsettling, I can't imagine a life any other way. Home is wherever I make it. I'm done apologizing for my vagabond ways. I am now wearing it as a badge of honor. Why? Because science explains why the world needs people like me. Yup. It turns out, there’s a scientific explanation. Get ready, this gets wonky.
In 1999, four scientists from UC Irvine published a paper titled “Population Migration and the Variation of Dopamine D4 Receptor (DRD4) Allele Frequencies Around the Globe” about the migration patterns and gene pool distribution of pre-historic human beings. They were originally researching for links between dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) and Attention Deficit Disorder. While conducting the study, they discovered another weird correlation: people with the DRD4 genes tend to be thrill-seeking and migratory. And almost all study participants with this gene had a long history of traveling.
So not only do my long alleles foretell my life as a nomad, they mean without me and my ilk you wouldn't have a place, or a couch in which to stay put. Indeed, science tells us, wanderlusters were the crucial movers who pushed human civilizations out of Mesopotamia, spanning societies into Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.