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Gene Linked to Cheapness Gives Everyone an Excuse Not to Pay Anyone Back

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Genetics is certainly a wonderful science that leads to all kinds of life-altering advances in medicine. But it’s also being increasingly used to pardon numerous behavioral defects that we used to just blame people for. Addiction, attention-deficit disorders, red hair…all of these things have been “linked” to DNA, and, as such, fall into the category of nature, not nurture.

Well, now we can add stinginess to the list.

Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany have pinpointed a gene that makes people cheap and/or less willing to give to charity. The gene is called COMT and has a “G” and “A” variety. If you have the “G” variety, you’re more willing to give money away, and if you have the “A” version, you’re less willing.

The study says that about 25% of the population carries the cheap gene.

But just because the guy to your left is more generous than you are doesn’t mean he’s intrinsically a better person. One reason why people give to charity is that it makes them feel better, and science remains unconvinced of the purity of altruism.

The author of the study, writing in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, writes that “people who doubt the existence of pure altruism argue that helping others is intrinsically rewarding and therefore they are exercising their personal interest to benefit their own selves rather than others.'

The one perk of the study, of course, is now we all have a bullet-proof excuse for never buying anyone another drink again. If anyone complains, simply say, “Oh, I’m sorry. But you see I actually have a genetic defect with my COMT gene, so, well, what can ya do? But I would love another round….cheers!”
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