‘Happiness is heritable’: Professor Meike Bartels on the happiness gene

‘Happiness is heritable’, says Meike Bartels, Professor in Behaviour and Quantitative Genetics at the Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam.

At the World Government Summit in Dubai, Vision talks to the author of a groundbreaking genetic study in the Netherlands, which found three genetic variants for the ‘happiness gene.’ 

Comparing identical twins to fraternal twins, those genetically identical to those that do not share all their genes, Professor Bartels found that differences between people are 40 per cent accounted for by genetic differences, and that individuals who are similar in their feelings of happiness, also have similar DNA. 

Bartels' 300,000 person study found the first genetic variance, so ‘we really now know where on the human genome that are variances that are related to difference in human happiness’, she says.