Citation: Dastan H, Calmasur G and Turkez H. Entrepreneurship and its Genetic Basis. Austin J Mol & Cell
Biol. 2016; 3(1): 1007.
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Austin Journal of Molecular and Cellular
Entrepreneurship is generally considered the most important engine of
economic growth. A novel and fruitful research area called as genoeconomics,
become popular after global perspicacity of milestone projects of genetic sci-
ence. Many multidisciplinary research groups consisting economists and geneti-
cist tried to nd out underlying genetic mechanisms for remarkable economic
behaviours including entrepreneurship. This review evaluates (I) the different
denitions of the entrepreneurship term, (II) possible genetic mechanism that
is associated with entrepreneurship, (III) candidate gene studies and their chal-
lenges, and (IV) discusses some promising avenues for future research.
Keywords: Candidate gene; Genetic basis; Genoeconomics; Entrepre-
person who undertakes. More specically, an entrepreneur is
described as the person who organizes production by bringing
production factors together, makes commercial decisions in terms of
which goods or services are going to be produced, takes the risks that
may emerge as a result of commercial decisions and an innovator that
promotes new products, new technology and new work forms . e
word entrepreneur in modern English has two dierent meanings in
economic literature. Kirzner describes entrepreneurship as a research
process consisting of discovering the type of entrepreneurship and
prot in a particular market system with insucient knowledge. In
fact, Kirzner’s description of entrepreneurship discovery emerges
from sellers asking for less money than the actual market prices
while asking for more in other places. is person buys for less and
asks for a price that he desires and the prot he makes attracts other
entrepreneurs. Schumpteron the other hand dened an entrepreneur
as an innovationist who leads economic developments and social
improvements. Shumpter’s entrepreneur creates new markets and
new products while Kirzner’s entrepreneur nds markets for existing
products as well as locating gaps .
e entrepreneur is an important factor among production
factors. Entrepreneurship implies the skills for seeing opportunities
to bridge resources to nd a new and ecient way to produce new
or specialized goods. e motivating force of an entrepreneur is the
belief in the possibility of high prots. e entrepreneur uses both
his own resources and attempts to convince others who have large
amounts of capital to present new production techniques and new
products to seize these prot opportunities, thus sharing the potential
prot . Entrepreneurship is also dened as the process to organize,
manage and taking the responsibility for the attempt. at’s why an
entrepreneur is a risk-taker . It is dicult to describe or measure
the amount of entrepreneurship. During certain periods, visionary
entrepreneurship that drew a lot of attention emerged. Sam Walton,
the founder of Wal-Mart, the founder of Microso, Bill Gates and
the founder of Dell, Michael Dell are some examples of individuals
who have extraordinary entrepreneurial skills. However, they are the
visible entrepreneurs at the top among millions of others who are in
small, medium or large ventures .
Visionary, entrepreneurial and risk taking individuals who
DNA: Deoxyribonucleic Acid; HAPMAP: Haplotype Map
Project; HGP: Human Genome Project; SMEs: Small and Medium
It is impossible to consider rms independent of people. Firms
are managed by a group of people who try to achieve some results.
It is easy to start home-based businesses because they are part time
activities. In these kinds of tasks, you can do the task you want to do
easily. If the task is more complex and labour-intensive, diculties
emerge. As the operational area if the rm expands, multiple
licenses, permits, oers and forms need to be acquired from several
governmental agencies. erefore, an entrepreneur is an important
part of the organization .
Manufacturers produce by deploying production factors.
Production factors are the tools used by the manufacturers to
produce goods and services demanded by society. Production
factors can be categorized as labour (including entrepreneurship
skills), capital and land . e fourth production factor that brings
the three factors mentioned together and attempts to produce the
goods and services demanded by the consumer by organizing these
factors is called the entrepreneur. Entrepreneur is an important and
scarce manufacturing factor as he takes on some risks while bringing
related production factors together and undertakes some risks when
making investment decisions. is entrepreneur is generally accepted
as a dynamic manufacturing factor among these production factors
and is considered dierent from labour in terms of administration
or production, as it is the driving force of the organization. In order
to accomplish the production activity an individual or individuals
need to take the responsibilities that may emerge in the future. In
this context, an entrepreneur is a strategic manufacturing factor that
the economy cannot ignore . Organizations with large production
cannot function without entrepreneurship. Clearly, entrepreneurship
is a rare human resource when there is a general reluctance to take
risks and lack of the skills necessary to coordinate the work .
e word entrepreneurship is a French word that means the
Entrepreneurship and its Genetic Basis
Dastan H1*, Calmasur G1 and Turkez H2
1Department of Economics, Faculty of Economic and
Administrative Sciences, Erzurum Technical University,
2Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty
of Science, Erzurum Technical University, Turkey
*Corresponding author: Dastan H, Department of
Economics, Faculty of Economic and Administrative
Sciences, Erzurum Technical University, Erzurum,
Received: December 07, 2015; Accepted: February 07,
2016; Published: February 09, 2016
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followed ecient ways to acquire, wealth, power and prestige always
existed. However, the methods that they used to reach their goals vary
in the capitalist system. ey are in demand due to their methods
of progress: organizing their business ventures like private armies,
resembling independent corrupt big businessmen or the military,
which supports the rule-making authority. ey rent everything but
money and compete to achieve the wealth they have. Sometimes
entrepreneurs gain economic success through their careers in
government bureaucracy. However, these forms of entrepreneurship
activities rarely lead to the increase of economic eciency .
Entrepreneurship is a highly complex and disputed concept. From
a microeconomics perspective, advocates of Schumpeter suggest
that the creative destruction process of an entrepreneur is beyond a
single result. Entrepreneurial groups can be seen in a heterogeneous
group with passive supporters, highly optimistic and even individuals
who avoid unemployment. From the macroeconomics perspective,
formation of an innovative new organization can provide permanent
economic growth and lead to market irregularity .
The Characteristics of an Entrepreneur
An entrepreneur is the most interesting and most dicult to
describe among actor that constitute economical analysis issues. For
a long time, an entrepreneur was described as the top of the hierarchy
that determines the behaviour of a rm. However, an entrepreneur
takes extensive responsibilities for the survival of the free enterprise
community. An entrepreneur is considered ever-present although it
remains as a shadow unit with no dened structure and function in
classical economic articles. Only Schumpeter and Knight successfully
shed light on entrepreneurship by establishing an appropriate
scientic eld .
e entrepreneur has taken on a broad variety of functional tasks
throughout the history of economic thought. An entrepreneur, from
Richard Cantillon, who dened the concept before Adam Smith,
up to today, is an important actor of production, distribution and
expansion theories. An entrepreneur is a coordinator, a mediator, an
innovator, and the one who perseveres through uncertainty in terms
of determining location, time and problem . When fundamental
characteristics of an entrepreneur are listed, an entrepreneur takes
risks, makes decisions and runs the organization. He identies
appropriate eorts, products, organization production size, location
of production, and organizes production and sales. He supports new
inventions, coordinates the processes, arranges raw material and
machinery and creates order .
The Genetic Bases of Entrepreneurship
A very interesting and novel working area entitled
genoeconomics, using Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) or genes
for tracing economic behaviours as base, have been introduced
in scientic community. Notably, aer global perspicacity of
milestone projects of genetic science like Human Genome (HGP)
and Haplotype Map (HAPMAP), a few multidisciplinary research
groups consisting economists and geneticist tried to nd out the
rational way for testing whether remarkable economic behaviours
including becoming an entrepreneur could be inuenced by genes
. Curiously, some recent reports have dealed with this topic and
provided quite convincing evidences for genetic underpinnings of
entrepreneurship [16,17]. In fact, it was revealed that between 37
and 42 percent of the variance in the tendency of people to engage
in entrepreneurship accounted for by genetic factors . is
nding could lead us to interpreting that environmental factors were
much more eective than genetic ones in becoming entrepreneurial
individual. But it should not be forgotten that genetic factors or genes
interact with the environment based on the actions of the individual
in a dynamic, transformational, synergistic process that continually
changes and renes the individual’s performance . However,
the main question that how our genetics play its role in determining
how likely we are to be an entrepreneur is still requires certain and
substantial answers (Figure 1).
ere are several proposed mechanisms for explaining the roles
of genes in regard to genetic foundation of entrepreneurship. e
rst of these, commits that genes aect chemical mechanisms in
brain. Brain chemistry is the whole of dierent chemical messaging
systems including neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and psycho-
pharmaceuticals that occur in the brain. ese are also called
neurochemicals and they play a major role in shaping everyday life via
inuencing the function of neurons. And it is well known that gene
activation and/or inactivation alter behaviour and neurotransmission
. A previous investigation results indicated that an inter-
individual variability of several neurotransmitter activation seemed
to exist which was related to individual dierences in behavioural
responsiveness to novelty. Furthermore, these dierences in
neurotransmitter activity might be related to other known dierences
in both hippocampal structure and function. us, neurotransmitter
expression patterns were considered responsible for observed inter-
individual variability in novelty seeking and sensation seeking .
In supporting this phenomenon, twin studies clearly revealed that
genes aected the tendency of people to engage in entrepreneurship
by aecting the distribution of sensation seeking across people
[17,18,22-24]. On the other hand, the evaluations of animal models
and human brain imaging works in dierent organisms exposed to
stress indicated altered neurotransmitter activity and suppression of
neurogenesis . At this point, entrepreneurships were reported to
need a high tolerance for stress to cope with the several conditions
such as hard work, important risks, social isolation, pressure and
insecurity . In conformity with these data, Dahl et al.  assessed
the use of psychotropic among entrepreneurs. Interestingly, they
noticed that there was a signicant relation between entrepreneurship
and receiving prescriptions for sedative/hypnotics both among the
entrepreneurs themselves and their spouses. Due to this nding, the
Figure 1: The schematic summary of underlying bases of becoming an
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investigators suggested that entrepreneurship could be associated
with increased stress for both the entrepreneurs and their families.
e second, genes play role in becoming an entrepreneur by
inuencing individual characteristics particularly extraversion
and neuroticism. Neuroticism was suggested to decrease the risk-
taking propensity of individuals. In sharp contrast to neuroticism,
extraversion shaped adaptations that increased the preferences for
entrepreneurial exit . Zhang et al.  found that extraversion
and neuroticism mediated the genetic inuences on women’s
tendency to become entrepreneurs, whereas extraversion mediated
shared-environmental inuences on men’s tendency to become
entrepreneurs. In a comprehensive study, multivariate genetics
techniques were applied to a large sample of monozygotic and
dizygotic twins from the United Kingdom and United States to
examine whether genetic factors account for part of the covariance
between the Big Five personality characteristics (openness,
conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism) and
the tendency to be an entrepreneur. e results of this study revealed
that genes inuenced the phenotypic correlations between only
extraversion and openness to experience and the tendency to be an
As a third one, genes were suggested to make some people more
sensitive to environmental stimuli for creating entrepreneurship.
Extended researches desired to know why certain individuals get
disease when exposed to same environmental agents or toxins, but
other individuals remain healthy. Aer developing novel analysis
techniques in genetics such as microarray and DNA sequencing,
a panoramic sight were built on inter-individual genetically
variability. Along the same line, the main source of many behavioural
personality dierences like being more or less responsive, reactive,
exible, or sensitive to the same environment were thought to
be due to inter-individual genetically variability. In this context,
behavioural genetic studies produced exciting inputs. For example,
neuropeptide S and its receptor NPSR1 were found to be involved
in the regulation of arousal, attention and anxiety. Furthermore,
the functional polymorphisms of NPSR1 gene were determined to
inuence personality, impulsivity, and attention-decit/hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD)-related symptoms . In addition, a functional
promoter polymorphism of the nitric oxide synthase 1 gene rst
exon 1f variable number tandem repeat (NOS1 ex1f-VNTR) was
shown to related to impulsivity and related psychopathologies and its
variants were suggested as associated with dierent coping strategies
. ese mentioned traits were considered as crucial for being an
entrepreneurial person. As a matter of fact, entrepreneurial person
was reported to should have the ability to modulate arousal eectively.
Again, an entrepreneur, since constantly subjected to large ows of
information and in never-ending need for exibility and change of
strategy, might have more developed attention abilities than non-
entrepreneurs. Finally, impulsivity might prove to be a functional
advantage for certain individuals that recognize true entrepreneurial
Candidate Gene Studies
Candidate gene studies for explaining human behaviour are
becoming so popular in economics and entrepreneurship research.
ese studies are aim to choose a suitable candidate gene which may
play a determinative role in entrepreneurial behaviour. In a recent
time, a report was published indicating a signicant association
between a common genetic variant in the Dopamine Receptor D3
(DRD3) gene and the tendency to be an entrepreneur . On the
contrary, Matthijs et al.  have found that this previously suggested
association had an opposite, insignicant eect using a much larger,
independent dataset. However, several other candidate genes were
oered including serotonin 2A and 1B transporters (HTR2A and
HTR2B), dopamine and serotonin transporters (SLC6A3, SLC6A4),
Dopamine Beta-Hydroxylase (DBH), Monoamine Oxidase B
(MAOB) and genes associated with testosterone levels .
Quaye et al.  assessed the relations between genetic
polymorphism from four candidate genes associated with dyslexia
(ROBO1, KIAA0319, DCDC2, DYX1C1) and education on the
tendency to become an entrepreneur. In this mentioned research,
not only for genetic but also environmental factors were found
to be eective in being an entrepreneurship. Moreover in several
comprehensive candidate gene studies in entrepreneurship research
proposed many dierent genes that specically responsible for being
an entrepreneur like adenosine A2a receptor (ADORA2A), alpha-
2A adrenergic receptor (ADRA2A), Catechol-O-Methyltransferase
(COMT), Dopamine Decarboxylase (DDC), Dopamine Receptor
(DRD1, DRD2, DRD4, DRD5) and synaptosomal-associated protein
25 (SNAP25) due to the sexuality [35,38-40].
e roles of small and medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in World
economy are increasing and coming into prominence as days pass.
SMEs become more inalienable with their contributions on creating
new employment areas, impacts on maintaining social and economic
development and the abilities for adaptation to changing market
conditions in economies of developed and emerging countries. And
supporting and/or enhancing their entrepreneurship characteristics
have important roles in national economies. Various numbers of
studies have highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship education
in the success of SMEs. At this point, novel ndings of genetic area
revealed that a signicant part (37%-42%) of entrepreneurship ability
is aected by genetic parameters via dierent mechanisms. SMEs
must take into consideration of this signicant correlation between
genetic factors and entrepreneurship, and must organize educational
programs for enhancing their entrepreneurial capacity by focusing on
detecting and training of genetically suitable persons.
In the review, it is underlined that genes aect entrepreneurship
primarily via altering chemical mechanisms in brain, inuencing
individual characteristics and making people more sensitive to
environmental stimuli. is current data was obtained by generally
twin studies. To be able to explore new and/or certain genetic
mechanisms of entrepreneurship, it seems that it is necessary to apply
behavioural genetic methods more extensively into genoeconomics
area such as family and adoption studies, proteomics, epigenetic and
microarray analysis. Interestingly candidate gene studies remain
contradictory. Present conicting results on suggested candidate
genes could be due to selection approach of entrepreneur or non-
entrepreneurs. Nominate, the genoeconomist researchers use dierent
approaches for separating entrepreneur and non-entrepreneurs in
further genetic comparisons. And a conventional approach for this
Austin J Mol & Cell Biol 3(1): id1007 (2016) - Page - 04
Dastan H Austin Publishing Group
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aim is urgently needed. Again, up to date, the majority of suggested
candidate genes are related to neuronal functions and expression
alterations in brain. In this point of view, thousands of new potential
candidate loci among large numbers of brain-related genes could be
added on present list. is condition exhibits infeasibility of candidate
gene determining in complex behaviours like entrepreneurship.
However, with the development of more advanced molecular genetic
techniques, in future it should be possible to detect certain eective
genes, proteins or non-coding RNAs underlying genetic basis of
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