The purpose of this paper is to describe new genetic approaches that are beginning to identify genes for personality and to consider how these findings will affect personality research in the future. Genetic approaches to complex traits such as personality have moved from single-gene models and methods to approaches that can identify genes of small effect size in multiple-gene systems called quantitative trait loci (QTLs). We review results for the association between dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) and novelty seeking, which was the first QTL association reported for personality. The identification of QTLs will revolutionize genetic research on personality by providing measured genotypes for tracking the developmental course of genetic effects, for investigating genetic links between traits and between personality and biological mechanisms, and for identifying interactions and correlations between genes and environment. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.