Genetic factors determine business success

Entrepreneurs are born not made, scientists say

Researchers have found genetic evidence that suggests that entrepreneurs might be born rather than made.

Scientists who have examined pairs of identical and non-identical twins have found that genes are crucial in determining whether we are likely to become self-employed.

A collaborative study involving researchers from St Thomas’ Hospital and Imperial College in London, and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, USA, concluded that nearly half of an individual’s likelihood to become self-employed is due to genetic factors.

Adding a further twist to the long running nature/nurture debate, the researchers say that family environment and upbringing have little influence on whether a person will become self-employed or not.

The study looked at self-employment in 609 pairs of identical twins and 657 pairs of same-sex non-identical twins in the UK.

Identical twins share all their genes while non-identical twins share, on average, about half.

As twins will normally share the same environment and upbringing the comparison allowed the scientists to isolate the importance of the genetic component.

The study shows that identical twins are more likely to follow the same career path as their sibling than the non-identical twins were, therefore suggesting the supremacy of genetics.

Professor Tim Spector, director of the Twin Research Unit at St Thomas’, said: “This relatively high heritability suggests the importance of considering genetic factors to explain why some people are entrepreneurial, while others are not.

“The research is important for business schools and employers who in the future could identify ways of selecting those who were most likely to succeed.”

© Crimson Business Ltd 2006


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