The results from the group of selected birds were confirmed with data from free-living, unselected great tits. In the forest-living birds, the scientists also found a significant association between the SNP830-genotypes of individuals and variation in their level of curiosity.
"The personality trait can be an important predictor of how individuals will respond to predictable and unpredictable changes in their environment and how well they cope with these changes", explains Bart Kempenaers. "If we want to understand the ecological and evolutionary importance of variation in personality in natural, free-living animal populations, it would help a lot to know the molecular genetic mechanisms behind the trait." Typing the behavioural relevant Drd4 polymorphism it should be possible to follow micro-evolutionary changes in populations, which would result from changing selection pressures on different personality types.