Bad Driving Gene Discovered?

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Researchers at the University of California, Irvine may have discovered a gene that contributes to poor driving. Millions of people are now saying to themselves, "I knew it!," while another, certainly smaller, contingent are nervously Googling genetic testing centers.

The genetic excuse may be a valid one, according to the test's results, but it's still a bit on the early side to declare the findings conclusive. Testing 29 people, 7 of whom were known to have a certain gene variant, the UCI study found that those with the variant performed worse from the start, had a harder time learning and remembered less after a break from driving.

Testing involved a computer-simulated track with "difficult" turns and curves that participants drove 15 laps around before taking a four-day break and repeating the test.

The researchers were actually surprised that the data showed such a clear difference between the drivers with and without the gene variant. Driving is, after all, a complex set of motor and neurological skills, building on innate ability with learned behavior. So finding what may be a single factor that influences driving so clearly could be a breakthrough.

On the other hand, with such a small sample size and limited testing procedure, the results will require further validation and study before anything truly meaningful can be made of the gene variant.

For more technical details, you can catch the official press release at the link below.

[EurekaAlert via Jalopnik]

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Comments (5)
  1. So it's not a "Bad Driver" gene: It's a "Stupid Person" gene...
    ...I wonder how much of a government grant they got for telling us something we already knew?

  2. Test this in India ... the results will be amazing.

  3. Sounds to me like a gene relating things like hand/eye coordination and multitasking. Obviously it needs more testing, but it would be interesting to test the same people on different tasks such as video games, physical coordination (fine motor skills), split concentration (say, watching multiple TV shows), and other things.

  4. This gene is found in people with two X chromosomes.

  5. I have to be honest and admit that I likely have the bad-driver gene, and I got it from my mother. She has been in 4-5 fender benders in her life, while my father has been in exactly zero. I used to be good for a car accident once every other year-- not all my fault, but I stopped the cycle back in '03 (With winter just starting oh how I am jinxing myself.) How I stopped the cycle was I came to terms with who I was-- an accident prone driver. I started driving very defensively and quit speeding (I understand the danger of driving too slow btw.) I avoid talking on my cell while driving and keep my conversations very brief. Aside from a very dirty trick of a speed trap in TX, I have been ticket and accident free since '03.

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