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Comfort for the rhythmically challenged

Blame it on your genes, not the boogie

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Anyone claiming they were born with two left feet may have a case, Israeli researchers have found.

Comparing 85 trained dancers to the general population and athletes, a team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discovered consistent differences in two genes involved in transmission between nerve cells.

The athletes were included in the analysis for comparison against another group with good physical stamina.

The transporter gene for serotonin, a chemical messenger involved in regulating mood, emotion and sex, tended to be different in dancers. It's thought LSD produces psychedelic effects through the serotonin pathway.

A second - arginine vasopressin receptor 1a - has been implicated in social communication, anxiety and bonding in animal studies.

The latest findings are in line with previous work showing musicians and athletes have their own genetic predispositions.

Test subjects were also personality profiled using the Tellegen Absorption Scale, which assesses "openness to absorbing and self-altering experiences", and the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire, which measures openness and need for social contact.

Combining the psychological and genetic data, the researchers identified what they call the 'dancer type' with a heightened sense of communication, and a strong spiritual personality trait.

That'll be show-offs then. ®

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