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Happy DNA? Yes, but there are likely thousands of gene variants

| | February 15, 2017

The GLP curated this excerpt as part of a daily selection of biotechnology-related news, opinion and analysis.

A human’s level of happiness is linked to their genetic makeup, according to a researcher who carried out groundbreaking work in the area—but it’s nearly impossible to modify genes to boost your contentment.

In a first ever study, [Meike Bartels, the university research chair at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,] and a group of researchers studied nearly 300,000 people, sampling DNA material as well as measures of well-being. Looking at human genomes, the study found links between genes and feelings. There were three genetic variants for happiness, two that account for differences in symptoms of depression, and eleven locations on the human genome that may account for varying degrees of neurotic behavior…[So far, r]esearchers have found 20 areas on the genome linked to happiness.

However, Bartels said that even though genes are linked to your levels of happiness, external environmental factors can actually influence how those genes exhibit themselves.

If you know what to change to be happier, why wouldn’t somebody in the people in the future make sure they are full of happiness genes?

Because it’ll be nearly impossible, Bartels said. She added that there’ll be a “couple thousand” genetic variants linked to happiness so it’ll be “too complex” to start altering that much DNA….

[The study can be found here.]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: A scientist has discovered why happiness might very well be genetic

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