In defense of genopolitics

James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    The American Political Science Review recently published a critique of an article we published in the Journal of Politics in 2008. In that article we showed that variants of the genes 5HTT and MAOA were significantly associated with voter turnout in a sample of 2,300 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Here, we address the critique first by conducting a replication study using an independent sample of 9,300 subjects. This study replicates the gene-environment interaction of the 5HTT gene variant with church attendance, but not the association with MAOA. We then focus on the general argument of the critique, showing that many of its characterizations of the literature in genetics and in political science are misleading or incorrect. We conclude by illustrating the ways in which genopolitics has already made a lasting contribution to the field of political science and by offering guidelines for future studies in genopolitics that are based on state-of-the-art recommendations from the field of behavior genetics.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)362-374
    Number of pages13
    JournalAmerican Political Science Review
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2013

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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