Happy gene may determine the happiness level of the population.

happygeneResearchers from the University’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) have defined the possible function of a happy gene in a given population, explaining why that population has a greater life satisfaction than others.

The gene implicated is the 5-HTTLPR gene which has been liked to different levels of depression. In particular, the short allele form of the gene has been associated with higher scores on neuroticism and harm avoidance, stronger attentional bias towards negative stimuli, and lower life satisfaction.

The protein-encoded serotonin transporter gene influences the re-uptake of serotonin, thus affecting mood. The researchers hypothesized that as depression and mental disorder have a genetic link in families, that the same genetic link would be found in certain communities.

The researchers determined a statistical correlation between lower happiness of nations and the proportion of their population who have the short allele version of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism. Netherlands and Denmark had the lowest percentage of people with the gene and Denmark had the highest recorded level of satisfaction with life. In contrast, Italy had the lowest recorded level of satisfaction with life and the highest percentage of people with the short allele version of the gene.



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