For the first time researchers locate happiness genes

Washington D.C., April 26: Researchers have recently isolated the parts of the human genome that could explain the differences in how humans experience happiness. 

These are the findings of a large-scale international study in over 298,000 people, conducted by VU Amsterdam professors Meike Bartels and Philipp Koellinger. 

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 system and the adrenal glands and pancreatic system. 

Prior twin and family research using information from the Netherlands Twin Register and other sources has shown that individual differences in happiness and well-being can be partially ascribed to genetic differences between people. 

Happiness and wellbeing are the topics of an increasing number of scientific studies in a variety of academic disciplines. Policy makers are increasingly focusing on wellbeing, drawing primarily on the growing body of evidence suggesting that wellbeing is a factor in mental and physical health.

These findings, which resulted from a collaborative project with the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium, are available for follow-up research. 

The study appears in the journal Nature Genetics.
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