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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Jan 10;40:122-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2012.07.018. Epub 2012 Aug 4.

The MAOA gene predicts happiness in women.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. hchen1@health.usf.edu

Abstract

Psychologists, quality of life and well-being researchers have grown increasingly interested in understanding the factors that are associated with human happiness. Although twin studies estimate that genetic factors account for 35-50% of the variance in human happiness, knowledge of specific genes is limited. However, recent advances in molecular genetics can now provide a window into neurobiological markers of human happiness. This investigation examines association between happiness and monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype. Data were drawn from a longitudinal study of a population-based cohort, followed for three decades. In women, low expression of MAOA (MAOA-L) was related significantly to greater happiness (0.261 SD increase with one L-allele, 0.522 SD with two L-alleles, P=0.002) after adjusting for the potential effects of age, education, household income, marital status, employment status, mental disorder, physical health, relationship quality, religiosity, abuse history, recent negative life events and self-esteem use in linear regression models. In contrast, no such association was found in men. This new finding may help explain the gender difference on happiness and provide a link between MAOA and human happiness.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22885141
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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