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DIYgenomics - Subjective Experience Study

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DIYgenomics Subjective Experience Study

www.DIYgenomics.org web homepage

DIYgenomics wiki homepage


Title: Subjective Experience Study - Citizen Qualia Study


Summary: This study seeks to investigate a potential link between genetics and subjective experience in areas such as color perception, life well-being, and autonomy. 


Hypothesis: Individuals with polymorphisms in genes related to the process of self-referentiality and self-experience may have different kinds of phenotypic subjective experience.


Study conduct: The study is conducted by crowdsourcing participants to provide relevant personal genetic SNP data and answer study-standardized online questionnaires.


1. Genomic Analysis

The area of the brain involved with self-referentiality is the medial prefrontal cortex (Abraham 2013, Jenkins 2011). The genes and SNPs involved in processes in the medial prefrontal cortex are: GABRA2 rs279871 (Kareken 2010, Beevers 2009), BDNF Val66Met rs6265 (Pattwell 2012), COMT Val158Met rs4680 (He 2012), and 5-HTTLPR rs4795541, rs25531 (Ma 2013). Genes and SNPs related to color perception may include those related to variation in human color vision: opsin 1 OPN1LW (red), OPN1MW Ser180Ala (Verrelli 2008, 2004 and Deeb 2006, 2004) and retinitis pigmentosa: TULP1, NR2E3 (Haider 2000), and MFRP.


2. Phenotypic Analysis




  • Abraham A. The world according to me: personal relevance and the medial prefrontal cortex. Front Hum Neurosci. 2013 Jul 2;7:341. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00341.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23847510
  • Beevers CG, Pacheco J, Clasen P, McGeary JE, Schnyer D. Prefrontal morphology, 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and biased attention for emotional stimuli. Genes Brain Behav. 2010 Mar 1;9(2):224-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2009.00550.x. Epub 2009 Nov 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20039945
  • Deeb SS. Genetics of variation in human color vision and the retinal cone mosaic. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Jun;16(3):301-7. Epub 2006 May 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16647849
  • Deeb SS. Molecular genetics of color-vision deficiencies. Vis Neurosci. 2004 May-Jun;21(3):191-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15518188
  • Haider NB, Jacobson SG, Cideciyan AV, Swiderski R, Streb LM, Searby C, Beck G, Hockey R, Hanna DB, Gorman S, Duhl D, Carmi R, Bennett J, Weleber RG, Fishman GA, Wright AF, Stone EM, Sheffield VC. Mutation of a nuclear receptor gene, NR2E3, causes enhanced S cone syndrome, a disorder of retinal cell fate. Nat Genet. 2000 Feb;24(2):127-31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10655056
  • He Q, Xue G, Chen C, Lu ZL, Chen C, Lei X, Liu Y, Li J, Zhu B, Moyzis RK, Dong Q, Bechara A. COMT Val158Met polymorphism interacts with stressful life events and parental warmth to influence decision making. Sci Rep. 2012;2:677. Epub 2012 Sep 20. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22997551
  • Jenkins AC, Mitchell JP. Medial prefrontal cortex subserves diverse forms of self-reflection.Soc Neurosci. 2011;6(3):211-8. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2010.507948. Epub 2011 Aug 12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20711940
  • Kahneman, Daniel, and Alan B. Krueger. 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(1): 3-24. http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533006776526030
  • Kareken DA, Liang T, Wetherill L, Dzemidzic M, Bragulat V, Cox C, Talavage T, O'Connor SJ, Foroud T. A polymorphism in GABRA2 is associated with the medial frontal response to alcohol cues in an fMRI study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2010 Dec;34(12):2169-78. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01293.x. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20698837
  • Ma Y, Li B, Wang C, Shi Z, Sun Y, Sheng F, Zhang Y, Zhang W, Rao Y, Han S. 5-HTTLPR Polymorphism Modulates Neural Mechanisms of Negative Self-Reflection. Cereb Cortex. 2013 Apr 15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23588187
  • Pattwell SS, Bath KG, Perez-Castro R, Lee FS, Chao MV, Ninan I. The BDNF Val66Met polymorphism impairs synaptic transmission and plasticity in the infralimbic medial prefrontal cortex. J Neurosci. 2012 Feb 15;32(7):2410-21. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5205-11.2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20698837
  • Verrelli BC, Lewis CM Jr, Stone AC, Perry GH. Different selective pressures shape the molecular evolution of color vision in chimpanzee and human populations. Mol Biol Evol. 2008 Dec;25(12):2735-43. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msn220. Epub 2008 Oct 1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18832077
  • Verrelli BC, Tishkoff SA. Signatures of selection and gene conversion associated with human color vision variation. Am J Hum Genet. 2004 Sep;75(3):363-75. Epub 2004 Jul 13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15252758



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