Happiness Genes Discovered

According to a publication in the Journal Nature Genetics, for the first time in history, researchers have isolated the parts of the human genome that could explain the differences in how humans experience happiness.

Now, before we all run out to get our genes changed via CRISPR, realize these genes do not make you happy. And in fact, epigenetics can influence how genes are expressed. 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.

I have not seen the full article yet, it is behind a pay firewall. So be leery of what I say next. A previous study using data from the World Values Survey in 2014 found a correlation between the allele value “A” in the “FAAH” gene rs324420. Nations with the highest prevalence of the “A” allele were also those who perceived themselves happiest.

So just for fun, I decided to look up values for this allele in 23andme data for some of my family members. Here are the results:

  • AA – Sandra
  • AC – Courtney, Debra, Jamie
  • CC – Jim, Rachel

What fun!  I better watch what I eat!   I’m looking forward to finding a copy of the full study to see what the 16 real alleles are.   Meanwhile, Rachel and I had better practice smiling! 🙂  BTW, this is a real tongue in cheek posting.  Nothing said herein should be taken seriously.  My biorhythms are just running high today.


Average human height

from the pages of Discover Magazine, October 2015,

The height of an average Dutchman has increased nearly 8 inches over the past 150 years. By comparison, the average American male’s height grew only about 2.5 inches over that same period. Dutch people are now, on average, the tallest in the world. Researchers credit all those inches to a number of factors, including heavy consumption of dairy products, universal health care and natural selection.

So I decided to check Google. The average world height of an adult male is 5 feet 6 inches, the average American white male is 5 ft 10 in.

Wikipedia shows the following by Country
Netherlands 6 ft
Norway, Sweden 5 ft 11.5 in
Denmark, Finland, 5 ft 11 in
Ireland, Russia 5 ft 10 in
Canada, U.S. 5 ft 9 in
China 5 ft 7 in
Cuba, Mexico, South Africa 5 ft 6 in (right on that average)
Vietnam 5 ft 5 in

The only gene so far attributed with normal height variation is HMGA2. Genetically speaking, the heights of mother and son and of father and daughter correlate, suggesting that a short mother will more likely bear a shorter son, and tall fathers will have tall daughters.

Today the tallest race of humans is the Nilotic peoples of Sudan such as the Dinka they have been described as the tallest in the world, with the males in some communities having average heights of 6 ft 3 in and females at 5 ft 11 in.

This doesn’t agree with the Discover Magazine exactly. According to Discover Magazine, 150 years ago, the Dutchman were 8 inches shorter, making them 5 ft 4 in. To grow 8 inches (12 %) on the average in only 150 years makes me wonder if perhaps immigration didn’t also have something to do with it.

Klotho Gene

More old news.

A recent discovery in the news is the Klotho gene which seems to boost brain function and adds to longevity. About one in five people have the good variant.

If you tested at 23andme, you can find out if you have it by checking the SNP at rs9536314, the protective variant is the heterozygous one, GT, while the normal variant is TT. The homozygous version, GG, appears to be deleterious.

So log into your 23andme account and then click this URL to see what variant you have. Or click this and then log in. https://www.23andme.com/you/explorer/snp/?snp_name=rs9536314

This link describes the basics.

Naturally, I had to check with some of my friends to see who “got lucky”!

GT => Jim, Lori
TT => Barbara, Courtney, Debra, Jamie, Rachel, Sandra, Sandy,

I got a kick out of what Ray Kurzweil had to say: http://www.kurzweilai.net/anti-aging-gene-also-enhances-cognition


The study of genetics is new.  Accordingly, saying that such and so disease or trait is “genetic” is still subject to much study and testing.  Sometimes being able to say whether you have wet or dry earwax (identified by SNP rs17822931) will be almost as much fun as sharing your astrological sign.   With much tongue-in-check, we checked some family members to see if they have risk factors for “misophonia”.  People who have misophonia are most commonly angered by specific sounds, such as slurping, throat-clearing, nail-clipping, chewing, drinking, etc..

According to a 23AndMe study the SNP rs2937573 is near the gene TENM2 and seems to be associated with misophonia among people of European ancestry. The SNP plays a role in brain development. The trait “sensitivity to the sound of other people eating” was found to correlate with allele values thusly: GG = higher odds, AG = average odds, and AA = lower odds.

In my family, the values seem to be opposite what they should be. Ah well, I am just the reporter…

GG => Jim, Debra, Jamie, Rachel
AA => Sandy, Courtney

Read more at this article.

BTW, I am not making funny of this science.  I really enjoy learning at the leading edge.  But I am a Sagittarius and enjoy having fun while being serious. 🙂

One Million at 23AndMe

23AndMe reached one million customers today 6/18/2015.  Just so you know, I was customer # 34,102, tested circa February 2010.  So there!  That is why my chip is # 2, and the data can’t be uploaded to gedmatch.  Oh well.  I did get to see my medical risk factors that were known at that time.