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Wedded bliss or the blues? It may be in the DNA


Narrator:       This is Science Today. What makes some people more prone to wedded bliss and others, sorrow? It may be in our DNA. Psychologist Robert Levenson of the University of California, Berkeley, found a link between genetics and marital satisfaction. Specifically, a gene variant, or allele, that's involved in the regulation of serotonin.

Levenson:      There's one variation which leaves the serotonin in the synapse a little bit longer and there's another variation that clears it out more quickly. The variation that leaves it in there longer seems to have this effect of amplifying your emotional reactions. And so we reasoned that perhaps people who have this variation, they would have larger emotional reactions and they'd be more affected by the emotions that occurred in their marriage.

Narrator:       And that's what they found — for people who inherited two short alleles, negative and positive emotions greatly influenced marital satisfaction; for those with one or two long alleles, emotions weren't as important. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.