British Folk are Genetically Programmed to be Miserable, Claims New Research

By Gerald Lynch on at

Wrestling with the mid-week blues? Don't worry, it's not your fault. If you're a Briton, you're genetically programmed to be miserable, according to new research from the University of Warwick.

It's a trait shared with Americans and the French, apparently, with the researchers identifying that many members of those nations possess a "short form" of the gene which regulates serotonin, the chemical that makes us feel happier when released into our brains. The Danes and Dutch, on the other hand, were found to be those most likely to be genetically predisposed to feelings of happiness as they carried the longer form of the gene.

It's an imprecise art, of course -- your biological heritage has more to do with the gene's appearance than your international location (what of a Brit born of two Danish parents for example?), and it doesn't take into account local societal factors that have just as great an influence on our moods as any genetic predisposition. What it does suggest, however, was that millennia ago the inhabitants of these isles were a grumpy lot -- but not grumpy enough to turn down a fumble under the sheets and maintain the dominance of the misery-guts gene. [Independent]