Human personality traits, which are substantially heritable, may be modulated by monoamine neurotransmitters. It has been demonstrated that the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met genetic polymorphism, a functional polymorphism that may affect monoamine metabolism, is possibly associated with specific personality traits. In addition, a polymorphism in the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene exon 3 has been associated in some, but not all, studies with the novelty seeking personality trait, as evaluated by the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ). In this study, associations between these two polymorphisms and TPQ personality traits were investigated in a sample population of 120 healthy young Chinese females. The results of this analysis reveal that the COMT Val158Met polymorphism was significantly associated with novelty seeking (p = 0.017) and reward dependence scores (p = 0.015) in our sample. However, no significant differences were demonstrated comparing TPQ-specific scores for subjects bearing different DRD4 genotypes. The present study suggests that the functional COMT Val158Met genetic polymorphism contributes to individual differences in the personality traits novelty seeking and reward dependence. Similar to the results of a recent meta-analytic review, however, no association was demonstrated between this DRD4 polymorphism and novelty seeking in our young Chinese female sample population.
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