Laughter is in your DNA (or maybe not)

baby laughing
Credit: Mark Evans via Flickr

A new study concludes that your capacity to laugh and smile may be dependent on a genetic variant.

From Medical Daily:

Are you the first one to laugh out loud or smile seconds after hearing a joke? If so, you may have been born with a sense of humor. In a recent study published in the journal Emotion, scientists have cracked the code and revealed those with a genetic variant of the gene 5-HTTLPR (serotonin-transporter-linked polymorphic region) are more likely show positive expressions, including laughing and smiling.

You can read the boring details of the research in Medical Daily, a website that actually put "5-HTTLPR" in a headline. The bottom line, though, is that the scientists who conducted these studies theorize that humor is based much more on nature than previously believed.

That being said, here's what one of the senior authors of the published study, Robert W. Levenson, a researcher in human emotions and a psychology professor at UC-Berkeley, adds in a press release:

"The fundamental truth of genes is that they don't have the final say. There's always an interaction between nature and nurture that shapes outcomes, and this study is another example."

So if you don't have a sense of humor, it's not hopeless. Just a bit harder.

This story, "Laughter is in your DNA (or maybe not)" was originally published by Fritterati.