If you’re good at poker, you may have your DNA to thank for it. A new study published today found that people with MAOA-L, the so-called “warrior gene,” were both more likely to take risks, and more likely to be able to identify advantageous gambles. Past studies have shown that MAOA-L leads to more aggressive and risky behavior, and suggested that those who have it are more likely to lash out when provoked.
The current study took a group of 83 men, analyzed their genes, and then gave them a series of financial decision-making exercises. As expected, those with MAOA-L made riskier choices—but not less wise ones. When presented with a favorable gamble, those carrying the warrior gene took the plunge more often than their peers, Nature reports. "Risky behavior is not always counterproductive," says the study's author, "and it's not always suboptimal."