Breakthrough Study Found The "Happiness Genes"

First Posted: Apr 27, 2016 06:56 AM EDT

Everybody reacts to emotions differently. There are so many different ways that influence how one can experience emotions, and a new study suggests that DNA may be one of them. In a new study about human genetics, it was found that the "happiness gene" may affect how people experience happiness.

For the very first time, researchers have segregated the parts of the human genome that could explain the differences in how a person experience happiness. The study conducted by VU Amsterdam professors Meike Bartels (Genetics and Wellbeing) and Philipp Koellinger (Genoeconomics) found three genetic kind for happiness, two that may be responsible for the differences in symptoms of depression, and eleven areas on the human genome that could account for the different degrees o neuroticism.

According to Science Daily, the genetic variants for happiness are mainly revealed in the central nervous system and the adrenal glands and pancreatic system. For the study, Professors Meike Bartels and Philipp Koellinger examined almost 300,000 people to determine the role that genetics play in happiness and well-being. There were at least 181 scientists from 145 research institutes also contributed to the large-scale study.

"This study is both a milestone and a new beginning," Bartels said in a press statement. "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," they continued.

These discoveries, which resulted from a joint project with the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium are now available for follow-up research. This will create a clearer picture of why people experience happiness in different ways. reported that Professor Bartels emphasized that the genetic overlap with symptoms of depression that they found is also a first of its kind. "This shows that research into happiness can also offer new insights into the causes of one of the greatest medical challenges of our time: depression," Bartels said.

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