Bartel stressed the fact that even though research has found a link between a subject's well-being and their genetic make up, lurking variables such as environmental factors play a major role in the overall well-being of a person. It is important to understand that a subject that does not exhibiting this variation can still be as happy as a person that does, but those with it are more prone to optimistic bias.
|Meike Bartels speaking in Dubai about the 'Science of Happiness'|
A journal I found on the subject on the National Institute of Health's website entitled "Genes, Economics, and Happiness", suggested that happiness was linked to a longer 5-HTTLPR allele, a serotonin transporter gene. Subjects that had a longer 5-HTT allele had a tendency to report a higher well-being that those that had shorter ones. Additionally, subject's with the shorter allele tended to succumb to stress depression more frequently. In both this journal and Bartel's journal article, the inconsistency of the experiments for this discovery was noted, as later experiments yielded varying results in regards to allele length and the effects on well-being. The topic would be interesting to explore further, as the link between the two variables could be significant.
An important question that was raised during this research is whether this genetic link to happiness could be used to genetically alter a person to have a happier predisposition. Unfortunately, the answer is no... for now anyway. Bartel explains that there are several thousand gene variants responsible for happiness, and altering that much DNA would be too great a task. For now, her focus is on the effects the environment has on genes.
CNBC "Happiness might Well be Genetic"