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'Happiness gene' discovered

06 May 2011 | The Telegraph

A "happiness gene" which has a strong influence on how satisfied people are with their lives, has been discovered. Those with two sets of the gene - one from each parent - are almost twice as likely to say they are satisfied with life, compared to those who lack a copy.

The gene, called 5-HTT, is responsible for how well nerve cells manage to distribute serotonin, a chemical produced by the pineal gland in the brain which helps control mood. People with low levels of serotonin - itself nicknamed the 'happiness drug' - are known to be more prone to depression.

Now behavioural economists at the London School of Economic and Political Science have found evidence that people with the "functional" variant of the 5-HTT gene tend to lead happier lives.

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