Medical News Today
February 27, 2009

According to some new research, people’s outlook on life can be attributed to their genetic makeup. Scientific journals help to explain why stress and emotional disorders are better delt with by some people than others. Professor Elaine Fox and her team of scientists decided to study the serotonin transporter gene to answer the question of why some people have a more positive outlook on life. Serotonin is a chemical involved in controling a person’s mood, and this gene is known to control the release of this chemical in the brain.
The researchers conducted an experiment in which they showed pairs of images to about 100 healthy people. Each pair contained either a poitive or negative neural image, and the scientists determined where the individuals’ attention was when they were shown the images. They also did a DNA test to specifically study the serotonin transporter gene.
They discovered that everybody has three combinations of this gene- two short versions, two long versions, and one of each. Their experiment revealed that the people with two long versions were more attentive to positive material and those with the short or combined verisons were not attracted to the positive nor negative material. The absence of protection in the people with the short or combined versions of the gene are more susceptible to stress and depression than those with the two long versions.

Madeline Toma
February 28, 2009