Association of MAOA-uVNTR Polymorphism with Subjective Well-Being in Men

Abstract

Quality of life and one’s subjective evaluation of one’s own happiness and well-being are the conventional focus of psychology and sociology. However, a genetic factor has recently been found to affect the subjective evaluation of well-being. The contribution of heredity to a personal level of happiness and life satisfaction has been estimated at 30–50% in twin studies. Individual genes associated with these traits have been identified, but the available data are rather discrepant. In this work, alleles of the monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA) were tested for association with well-being components, such as happiness, health, dangers of living environment, and stress, in Russian men. Trait assessments were based on questionnaires filled out as part of the World Values Survey. It is shown that, among the uVNTR-3R allele carriers, the proportion of men who have high levels of stress, feel unhappy, and live in unsafe environments is lower. The results are discussed in the context of the gene plasticity concept, which provides a possible explanation for how expression of genes related to behavior changes in different environmental conditions.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. 1.

    Steptoe, A. and Wardle, J., Enjoying life and living longer, Arch. Int. Med., 2012, vol. 172, no. 3, pp. 273–275.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Bartels, M., Genetics of wellbeing and its components satisfaction with life, happiness, and quality of life: a review and meta-analysis of heritability studies, Behav. Genet., 2015, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 137–156. doi 10.1007/s10519-015-9713-y

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Frey, B.S., Happy people live longer, Science, 2011, vol. 331, no. 6017, pp. 542–543. doi 10.1126/science. 1201060

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Kahneman, D. and Deaton, A., High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2010, vol. 107, no. 38, pp. 16489–16493. doi 10.1073/pnas.1011492107

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Myers, D.G. and Diener, E., Who is happy?, Psychol. Sci., 1995, vol. 6, pp. 10–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Bartels, M. and Boomsma, D.I., Born to be happy? The etiology of subjective well-being, Behav. Genet., 2009, vol. 39, no. 6, pp. 605–615. doi 10.1007/s10519-009-9294-8

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Rietveld, C.A., Cesarini, D., Benjamin, D.J., et al., Molecular genetics and subjective well-being, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2013, vol. 110, no. 24, pp. 9692–9697. doi 10.1073/pnas.1222171110

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Matsunaga, M., Isowa, T., Yamakawa, K., et al., Genetic variations in the human cannabinoid receptor gene are associated with happiness, PLoS One, 2014, vol. 9, no. 4. P: e93771. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal. pone.0093771.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Fredrickson, B.L., Grewen, K.M., Coffey, K.A., et al., A functional genomic perspective on human wellbeing, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2013, vol. 110, no. 33, pp. 13684–13689. doi 10.1073/pnas.1305419110

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Chen, H., Pine, D.S., Ernst, M., et al., The MAOA gene predicts happiness in women, Prog. Neuro-Psychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry, 2013, vol. 40, pp. 122–125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2012.07.018.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Sprangers, M.A., Thong, M.S., Bartels, M., et al., Biological pathways, candidate genes, and molecular markers associated with quality-of-life domains: an update, Qual. Life Res., 2014, vol. 23, no. 7, pp. 1997–2013.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Okbay, A., Baselmans, B.M., De Neve, J.E., et al., Genetic variants associated with subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism identified through genome-wide analyses, Nat. Genet., 2016, vol. 48, no. 6, pp. 624–633. doi 10.1038/ng.3552

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    De Neve, J.E., Christakis, N.A., Fowler, J.H., and Frey, B.S., Genes, economics, and happiness, J. Neurosci. Psychol. Econ., 2012, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 193–211. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0030292.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Lan, N.C., Heinzmann, C., Gal, A., et al., Human monoamine oxidase A and B genes map to Xp11.23 and are deleted in a patient with Norrie disease, Genomics, 1989, vol. 4, pp. 552–559. https://doi.org/10.1016/0888-7543(89)90279-6.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Brunner, H.G., Nelen, M., Breakefield, X.O., et al., Abnormal behavior associated with a point mutation in the structural gene for monoamine oxidase A, Science, 1993, vol. 262, pp. 578–580. doi 10.1126/science. 8211186

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Sabol, S.Z., Hu, S., and Hamer, D., A functional polymorphism in the monoamine oxidase A gene promoter, Hum Genet., 1998, vol. 103, no. 3, pp. 273–279.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Ficks, C.A. and Waldman, I.D., Candidate genes for aggression and antisocial behavior: a meta-analysis of association studies of the 5HTTLPR and MAOAuVNTR, Behav. Genet., 2014, vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 427–444. doi 10.1007/s10519-014-9661-y

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Liu, Z., Huang, L., Luo, X.J., et al., MAOA variants and genetic susceptibility to major psychiatric disorders, Mol. Neurobiol., 2016, vol. 53, no. 7, pp. 4319–4327. doi 10.1007/s12035-015-9374-0

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Reif, A., Weber, H., Domschke, K., et al., Meta-analysis argues for a female-specific role of MAOA-uVNTR in panic disorder in four European populations, Am. J. Med. Genet., Part B, 2012, vol. 159B, no. 7, pp. 786–793. doi 10.1002/ajmg.b.32085

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Fan, M., Liu, B., Jiang, T., et al., Meta-analysis of the association between the monoamine oxidase-A gene and mood disorders, Psychiatr. Genet., 2010, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 1–7. doi 10.1097/YPG.0b013e3283351112

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Rivera, M., Gutiérrez, B., Molina, E., et al., Highactivity variants of the uMAOA polymorphism increase the risk for depression in a large primary care sample, Am. J. Med. Genet., Part B, 2009, vol. 150B, no. 3, pp. 395–402. doi 10.1002/ajmg.b.30829

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Meyer-Lindenberg, A., Buckholtz, J.W., Kolachana, B., et al., Neural mechanisms of genetic risk for impulsivity and violence in humans, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2006, vol. 103, pp. 6269–6274.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Verhoeven, F.E., Booij, L., Kruijt, A.W., et al., The effects of MAOA genotype, childhood trauma, and sex on trait and state-dependent aggression, Brain Behav., 2012, vol. 2, no. 6, pp. 806–813. doi 10.1002/brb3.96

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Caspi, A., McClay, J., Moffitt, T.E., et al., Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children, Science, 2002, vol. 297, pp. 851–854. doi 10.1126/science. 1072290

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    World Values Survey. http://www.worldvaluessurvey. org.

  26. 26.

    Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., and Mermelstein, R., A global measure of perceived stress, J. Health Soc. Behav., 1983, vol. 24, pp. 385–396.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Shkolnikova, M., Shalnova, S., Shkolnikov, V.M., et al., Biological mechanisms of disease and death in Moscow: rationale and design of the survey on Stress Aging and Health in Russia (SAHR), BMC Public. Health, 2009, vol. 9, p. 293. doi 10.1186/1471-2458-9-293

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Glei, D.A., Goldman, N., Shkolnikov, V.M., et al., Perceived stress and biological risk: is the link stronger in Russians than in Taiwanese and Americans?, Stress, 2013, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 411–420. doi 10.3109/10253890.2013.789015

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Roff, D.A. and Bentzen, P., The statistical analysis of mitochondrial DNA: χ2 and problem of small samples, Mol. Biol. Evol., 1989, vol. 6, pp. 539–545. https://.org/. doi 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev. a040568

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Elston, R.C. and Forthofer, R., Testing for Hardy—Weinberg equilibrium in small samples, Biometrics, 1977, vol. 33, pp. 536–542. doi 10.2307/2529370

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Abramson, J.H., WINPEPI (PEPI-for-Windows): computer programs for epidemiologists, Epidemiol. Perspect. Innovations, 2004, vol. 1, p. 6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Cohen, S. and Janicki-Deverts, D., Who’s stressed? Distributions of psychological stress in the United States in probability samples from 1983, 2006, and 2009, J. Appl. Soc. Psychol., 2012, vol. 42, pp. 1320–1334. doi 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2012.00900.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Taylor, A., et al., MAOA, maltreatment, and gene-environment interaction predicting children’s mental health: new evidence and a meta-analysis, Mol. Psychiatry, 2006, vol. 11, pp. 903–913. doi 10.1038/sj.mp.4001851

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Belsky, J. and Pluess, M., The nature (and nurture?) of plasticity in early human development, Perspect. Psychol. Sci., 2009, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 345–351. doi 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01136.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Caspi, A., Sugden, K., Moffitt, T.E., et al., Influence of life stress on depression: moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene, Science, 2003, vol. 301, no. 5631, pp. 386–389. doi 10.1126/science.1083968

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Koenen, K.C., Aiello, A.E., Bakshis, E., et al., Modification of the association between serotonin transporter genotype and risk of posttraumatic stress disorder in adults by county-level social environment, Am. J. Epidemiol., 2009, vol. 169, no. 6, pp. 704–711. doi 10.1093/aje/kwn397

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. A. Borinskaya.

Additional information

Original Russian Text © A.S. Gureev, E.D. Ananieva, A.V. Rubanovich, R.F. Inglehart, E.D. Ponarin, S.A. Borinskaya, 2018, published in Genetika, 2018, Vol. 54, No. 5.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gureev, A.S., Ananieva, E.D., Rubanovich, A.V. et al. Association of MAOA-uVNTR Polymorphism with Subjective Well-Being in Men. Russ J Genet 54, 562–567 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1022795418050058

Download citation

Keywords

  • MAOA gene
  • monoamine oxidase A
  • subjective assessment of life satisfaction
  • World Values Survey