There May Be a Bad-Driver Gene, UCI Scientists Find

Some people suck at driving. If you do not suck at driving, you probably dislike these people.  But now you're not allowed to, according to UC Irvine scientists: After all, you can't hate someone for what they're born with.

Science Daily reports that UCI's Dr. Steven Cramer recently published a study in the journal Cerebral Cortex, showing that poor driving skills may be tied to a gene variant that affects memory.

How'd he figure it out? By putting people behind the wheel:

The driving test was taken by 29 people -- 22 without the gene variant and seven with it. They were asked to drive 15 laps on a simulator that required them to learn the nuances of a track programmed to have difficult curves and turns. Researchers recorded how well they stayed on the course over time. Four days later, the test was repeated.

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Results showed that people with the variant did worse on both tests than the other participants, and they remembered less the second time. "Behavior derives from dozens and dozens of neurophysiologic events, so it's somewhat surprising this exercise bore fruit," Cramer said.

The gene variant apparently exists in 30% of Americans. We hypothesize that the percentage is higher among people taking 405 South on weekday afternoons, but UCI has yet to test that.


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