The university announced the findings of the study, which was published in the American journal Public Library of Science Genetics, in a statement earlier this month. Richard P. Ebstein, head of the Hebrew University psychology department's Scheinfeld Center for Human Genetics in the Social Sciences, used DNA examination to show that dancers have consistent differences in two key genes from the general population.
Ebstein and his colleagues studied 85 active dancers and their parents in Israel, and found that all possessed variants of two genes that are involved in the transmission of information between the cells. They repeated the experiment on 91 athletes and 872 people who are neither dancers nor athletes.
Ebstein told the Discovery Channel, "I think that dancing is an evolved trait. Animals have courtship dances and I think that human dancing represents the further development of a very ancient animal trait. Also the fact that dancing is universal and existed in all human societies, even those communities of man separated geographically by tens of thousands of years (native Australians, native Americans, Africans, Eurasians) attests to the very early origin of dance in our evolution as a species."
One of the identified genes that dancers tend to possess is a transporter of serotonin; the second is a receptor of the hormone vasopressin, which many studies suggest affects social communication and human bonding.