Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Northwestern University have identified a gene that has more to do with emotional harmony in relationships and marriage than any other factor according to a paper published in the journal Emotion by Berkeley psychologist Robert W. Levenson and colleagues on Oct. 7, 2013.
People in unhappy marriages had two short forms of the 5-HTTLPR allele while people in the happiest marriages had one short form and one long form of the 5-HTTLPR allele. Every person inherits one 5-HTTLPR allele from each parent.
The 5-HTTLPR allele was found to moderate a person’s sensitivity to the emotional climate in a relationship. The action is both event specific and functions over long time frames. Less emotionally reactive people had one short and one long 5-HTTLPR allele and happier more harmonious relationships.
The researchers found the genetic solution to a happy marriage in a group of 156 middle-aged and older couples that the researchers had studied in different ways for the last 24 years.
The genetic evidence was confirmed by observation of the participating couple’s conversations over time and recording the emotional content, quality of emotional content, and quantity of emotional content.
People with two short alleles represented 17 percent of the total number of marriages studied.
Perhaps the next addition to the plethora of sure to please dating site advertisements may be genetic testing for the 5-HTTLPR allele and the length of the two stands of the gene.