The MAOA gene targets the enzyme that breaks down the same neurotransmitters antidepressants annihilate, namely serotonin and dopamine - the "feel good" chemicals.
The low-expression version of the MAOA gene promotes higher levels of monoamine, this allows larger amounts of these neurotransmitters to stay in the brain, boosting up a woman's mood in the process.
While happiness can not be limited by the presence or absence of a single gene, there are genes, along with other factors such as behavior, that contribute to our individual happiness levels. Henian Chen, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, USF College of Public Health and lead researcher on this study said, "I think the time is right for more genetic studies that focus on well-being and happiness."
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