Genetics linked to empathy and psychiatric conditions

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In the United Kingdom, researchers at the University of Cambridge found a link between genetics and empathy using 47,000 participants from 23andMe. They found 11 loci that are connected to empathy and estimated about a tenth of variation in empathy is due to genetic factors. They also found correlations between empathy and autism as well as schizophrenia.

“This new study demonstrates a role for genes in empathy, but we have not yet identified the specific genes that are involved,” joint senior author Thomas Bourgeron from Institut Pasteur said in a statement to Genome Web. “Our next step is to gather larger samples to replicate these findings, and to pin-point the precise biological pathways associated with individual differences in empathy.”