Happiness Genes Located for the First Time

Happiness Genes Located for the First Time

Going off of the last post, it is a universally accepted principle that everyone would rather be happy than unhappy.  Happy people tend to be more successful, have better relationships, go on more trips, and ultimately die with less regret.  As a result, everyone is constantly chasing that happiness feeling.  The accepted notion is that happiness is derived on your lifestyle and relationships.  Who you choose to associate with, what type of work you do, whether you follow your passions, and a number of other factors.  Rarely however, do people associate happiness with genetic predisposition.

A new study conducted involving over 298,000 people, 190 researchers in 140 research centers in 17 different countries has located genetic variants that they claim can explain the differences in how individuals experience happiness.  The results were published in the journal of Nature Genetics.

The researchers found three genetic variants for happiness, two variants that can account for differences in symptoms of depression and eleven locations on the human genome that could account for varying degrees of neuroticism.  The genetic variants for happiness are mainly expressed in the central nervous systems and the adrenal glands of the pancreatic system.

VU Amsterdam professor Meike Bartels explains: "This study is both a milestone and a new beginning: A milestone because we are now certain that there is a genetic aspect to happiness and a new beginning because the three variants that we know are involved account for only a small fraction of the differences between human beings. We expect that many variants will play a part." Locating these variants will also allow us to better study the interplay between nature and nurture, as the environment is certainly responsible -- to some extent -- for differences in the way people experience happiness."

So there you have it folks.  While a person's environment undoubtedly plans a major role in how people think and feel about their lives, it is fascinating that science has discovered other factors that may dictate a person's quest for happiness.