There have been a number of studies over the past two years around the effects that the pandemic has had on individuals. Many studies early on hypothesized that introverts would have an easier time but two years into the pandemic, we are seeing introverts and extroverts alike dealing with the implications of quarantining and massive changes to their social lives.
AncestryDNAⓇ decided to take a deeper look at what DNA factors contributed to being an introvert/extrovert and found genetics plays an important role. With the new AncestryDNA Introvert/Extrovert report, customers can learn about how their DNA may influence whether they tend to be introverted or extroverted. This is the first of many of a new class of traits which are uncovered by our world-class genomics team with the help of our DNA customers who have consented to research.
A different kind of trait
For our first 36 traits reports, Ancestry relied on what science already knew about a given trait. Traits like red hair, Asparagus Metabolite Detection, and the Sprinter gene are all influenced by one or at most a handful of DNA markers that have large effects.
However, Ancestry used a different methodology, a Polygenic Risk Score (PRS), to create the introvert/extrovert trait Ancestry scientists analyzed the DNA of more than 185,000 customers who voluntarily answered a survey question about introversion and extroversion and who also consented to participating in scientific research. The participants were placed into one of two groups: people who said they were more introverted, and people who said they were more extroverted. By comparing the DNA of these two groups, our team of scientists identified over 10,000 DNA markers associated with introversion and extroversion and created a model that predicts the likelihood of each result.
This description also shows the second big difference with PRS traits--a PRS trait is usually made up of hundreds or thousands of DNA markers that each have a small effect on the trait. When combined, all of these small effects can add up to a big effect like affecting the chances of being extroverted or introverted.
An extrovert focuses on the outer world of people and things while introverts look to their inner world of images and ideas. Ancestry can now tell customers who have purchased the traits offering what their genes say about whether they may be extroverted or introverted.
Previous studies have shown that genetics plays a sizeable role in how likely you are to be an extrovert or an introvert but it is not the whole story. How could it be with something as complicated as personality? Your environment also plays a large role in how extroverted or introverted you may be.
This is the first trait we have released that is based on the research our genomic scientists have done using DNA and answers to survey questions by customers who have consented to research. Ancestry hopes to release more trait reports using PRS analysis to help our customers learn more about how genetics may influence who they are.