Is Happiness in Your Genes?
What a strange statement to me. Of course, since the “gene connection” was made years ago, we’ve been saying variations of “It’s in you genes” since then; as if you were born that way, there’s no other option, and that’s the beginning and end of it. One of the best things I learned in high school was something more about genes than what scientists and the news usually present: the difference between phenotype and genotype.
At one time, I was deeply involved with horses. Horses are traditionally measured using your hand, from the ground to the top of the shoulders, and so we can describe a horse as being “16 hands high.” Anyway, I was fortunate that my Senior General Science class was about genetics, and I learned that while a horse might have genes that “say” it should be 16 hands high, it might in reality only reach 14 hands high.
That is the phenotype, the actual expression, which may be different from the genotype due to outside, environmental influences. Continue reading