Are some people genetically predisposed to stay happily married? Researchers at UC Berkeley have found a major clue in our DNA.
Robert Levenson and his team have found a link between relationship fulfillment and a gene variant — known as the “short allele” — of the serotonin transporter gene. The gene is involved in the regulation of serotonin in the brain and can predict whether a person is attuned or oblivious to the emotional climate of their marriage.
In the study, Levenson found that participants with the short alleles were most unhappy in their marriages when there was a lot of negative emotion —like contempt— but were also happiest when positive emotions like humor were present. (About 30% of the population has this gene variation.)
On the other end of the spectrum, participants with long alleles were satisfied with their marriages regardless of the emotional atmosphere.