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Could happiness be inherited?

Science in Brief

March 08, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

You can't buy happiness, but it looks like you can at least inherit it, British and Australian researchers said Thursday.

A study of nearly 1,000 pairs of identical and nonidentical twins found genes control half the personality traits that make people happy, while factors such as relationships, health and careers are responsible for the rest of our well-being.

"What this study showed was that the identical twins in a family were very similar in personality and in well-being, and by contrast, the fraternal twins were only around half as similar," said Tim Bates, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh who led the study. "That strongly implicates genes."

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