London: Women posses the happiness gene, American scientists have claimed.

A study done by researchers at the University of South Florida explain why women are often happier than men, depending upon the presence or lack of a certain gene in the brain, as reported.

A gene called 'MAOA' affects the levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain, and is responsible for fluctuating moods in both men as well as women.

The researchers asked some 350 men and women how happy they were and gave a saliva sample that was tested for their DNA.

The MAOA gene comes in two variations- a highly active and a less active type.

It was found that women with the less active type were happier than others, and those with two copies of the 'happy' type of MAOA were happiest of all.

The study found that 59 percent of the women had one copy and a lucky 17 percent had two – leaving only around one in four women lacking the happiness gene.

Many of the men in the study carried the gene but were no happier than others. This could be because its effects are cancelled out by testosterone – but boys may benefit.

"Maybe men are happier before adolescence because their testosterone level is lower." researcher Dr Henian Chen said.

With up to 50 percent of our predisposition to optimism in our DNA, it is thought that the gene is one of many involved in happiness.

The study was published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.

(Agencies)

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