An online experiment involving 203 volunteers by researchers from the university's psychology department showed that those volunteers more inclined to generosity had similarities in their genetic make-up.
The volunteers were allocated a sum of money and had to decide whether to keep it, or give all or part of it away to another anonymous player. Those who had certain variants of a particular gene gave away, on average, nearly 50 percent more money than those not displaying that variant.
Dr Ariel Knafo, who conducted the research, said: ''The experiment provided the first evidence, to my knowledge, for a relationship between DNA variability and real human altruism.''
Megan Pacey, director of policy and campaigns at the Institute of Fundraising said: "Research such as this is intriguing. Fundraisers keep a weather eye open to all research that helps to inform their professional judgement.
"However, their professional experience is that a range of factors induce people to give and this research is not conclusive at this stage".