Study in Royal Society journal on possible genetic factors in social responsiblity

Proceedings of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Geographic potential of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile Mayr) in the face of global climate change by Dr N Roura-Pascual, Dr AV Suarez, Dr C Gmez, Dr P Pons, Dr Y Touyama, Dr AL Wild and Dr AT Peterson

We examined the potential worldwide distribution of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) based on current climate models and also in the face of projected future climate change. Native to South America, Argentine ants have invaded broad areas around the world. Our results suggest that Argentine ants still have the potential to spread into areas not currently known to be occupied, particularly in regions of Africa and Asia. Higher latitudes appear to become more suitable for the Argentine ant under global climate change scenarios. Because invasion processes have the potential to alter global biodiversity considerably, this improved knowledge of the potential geography of the Argentine ant should be considered in preventive efforts.
Contact: Dr Nria Roura-Pascual, Departament de Cincies Ambientals, Universitat de Girona, Facultat de Cincies, GIRONA, 17071, Spain

Genetic and environmental contributions to pro-social attitudes: a twin study of social responsibility by Dr JP Rushton

A new study surprisingly shows genes, more than home environment, shape social responsibility attitudes. 174 pairs of identical twins and 148 pairs of non-identical twins from the University of London Twin Register rated themselves on 22 social attitudes such as "I am a person people can count on" and "It is important to finish anything you have started." Identical twins were almost twice as similar as non-identical twins. Genes determined 42%; home environment, 23%; and the non-home environment, the remainder of the variance. The ratings predict real life behaviour such as voting and helping others, implying these too have a genetic component.
Contact: Dr John Ru

Contact: Tim Watson
Royal Society

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