A gene may determine whether how likely you are to enjoy a happy marriage.

Researchers from University of California at Berkeley and Northwestern University found a gene that regulates serotonin can predict how much our emotions affect our relationships.

With these new genetic findings, we now understand much more about what determines just how important emotions are for different people, said Berkeley psychologist Robert W. Levenson, a senior author of the study.

The study found a link between a gene variant, or allele, known as 5-HTTLPR and relationship fulfillment.

Individuals with two short alleles is more sensitive to a lot of negative or positive emotion, while people with one or two long alleles were less bothered by the emotional ups and downs of their marriages.

The results of the study don't mean couples with different variations of the gene are incompatible.

Neither of these genetic variants is inherently good or bad. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, said Claudia M. Haase, an assistant professor at Northwestern and lead author of the study.

The study participants were 156 middle-aged and older couples. Researchers began following the couples in 1989. Every five years, couples came to the lab, interacted with each other while researchers observed and reported on their levels of marital satisfaction.

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