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Scientists have long wondered why some people could bounce back from a serious childhood event (say, physical abuse) and why others go on to develop depression later on in life.
Now Australian researchers think they have the answer: A gene called SERT, which is responsible for transporting the mood-regulating hormone serotonin in our brains. There are three types of SERT genes--long/long, short/long, or short/short--and everyone has one of these types.
Researchers studied 300 middle-aged people over five years, asking them to report their moods. Those people with the short/short SERT gene who'd suffered a traumatic event when they were kids had the greatest risk of becoming depressed. But people with the short/short gene who'd had ordinary childhoods were HAPPIER than others.
The conclusion: "Some people have a genetic makeup that makes them more susceptible to negative environments, but if put in a supportive environment these same people are likely to thrive," said Dr. Chad Bousman, of the University of Melbourne.
So the next time someone accuses you of being a drama queen, don't get mad. Smile, and say it's just your nature.