DRD4 (dopamine receptor D4)

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Dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) is a receptor located on the postsynaptic membrane for dopamine, a neurotransmitter emitted from synaptic vesicles. In human populations, there is variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) within the coding region of the third exon of this gene, ranging from 2 to 7 repeats. While variation in the number of repeats has been reported in other primates only human has been found to have 7 repeats within its population, with chimps having 5 repeats as the most common form. Studies in humans and nonhuman primates have suggested that a higher number of repeats are associated with increased novelty seeking behavior.

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Genetics Topic Attributes
Gene symbols follow the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee standard.
Gene Symbol Type of Human-Specific Changes
DRD4 Polymorphism


  1. Variable number of tandem repeat polymorphisms of DRD4: re-evaluation of selection hypothesis and analysis of association with schizophrenia., Hattori, Eiji, Nakajima Mizuho, Yamada Kazuo, Iwayama Yoshimi, Toyota Tomoko, Saitou Naruya, and Yoshikawa Takeo , Eur J Hum Genet, 2009 Jun, Volume 17, Issue 6, p.793-801, (2009)
  2. The association of DRD4 and novelty seeking is found in a nonhuman primate model., Bailey, Julia N., Breidenthal Sherry E., Jorgensen Matthew J., McCracken James T., and Fairbanks Lynn A. , Psychiatr Genet, 2007 Feb, Volume 17, Issue 1, p.23-7, (2007)
  3. The genetic architecture of selection at the human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene locus., Wang, E, Ding Y-C, Flodman P, Kidd J R., Kidd K K., Grady D L., Ryder O A., Spence M A., Swanson J M., and Moyzis R K. , Am J Hum Genet, 2004 May, Volume 74, Issue 5, p.931-44, (2004)
  4. Dopamine D4 receptor (D4DR) exon III polymorphism associated with the human personality trait of Novelty Seeking., Ebstein, R P., Novick O, Umansky R, Priel B, Osher Y, Blaine D, Bennett E R., Nemanov L, Katz M, and Belmaker R H. , Nat Genet, 1996 Jan, Volume 12, Issue 1, p.78-80, (1996)
  5. Population and familial association between the D4 dopamine receptor gene and measures of Novelty Seeking., Benjamin, J, Li L, Patterson C, Greenberg B D., Murphy D L., and Hamer D H. , Nat Genet, 1996 Jan, Volume 12, Issue 1, p.81-4, (1996)