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Scientists identify 'happiness' gene

Source : ANI
Last Updated: Wed, Feb 25, 2009 07:41 hrs
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(Copyright Getty Images. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.)
London: If life looks joyful in spite of recession, job insecurity and expanding waistline, then you should consider thanking your "brightside" gene.

A gene that affects if we're cheery or gloomy has been tracked down by British researchers, reports The Guardian.

The groundbreaking study claims that individuals who carry the gene don't pay much attention to negative things happening. In their lives and, instead, focus on the happier aspects of life. In the process, they end up becoming more sociable and are generally in better shape psychologically.

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Elaine Fox, head of psychology at Essex University, said: "We've shown for the first time that a genetic variation is linked with a tendency to look on the bright side of the life. This is a key mechanism underlying resilience to general life stress."

To reach the conclusion, the research team checked how long it took people to react to good and bad images that flashed up on a computer screen.

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The study involved more than 100 volunteers.

The positive snaps were that of a couple hugging and someone sailing along in a boat. The negative images included a photo of someone being mugged.

Volunteers'' genetic tests revealed that a tendency to ignore negative images and dwell on the positive ones was strongly linked to a variation in a gene that controls serotonin, which also branded as the brain's main "feel-good" chemical.

Every individual inherits two versions of the gene, either two short ones, two long ones, or one of each. People who had two longs versions were most likely to focus on the positives, according to the study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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