20 10 11 - 13:26From an innocent source:
That personality, along with intelligence, is at least partly heritable is becoming increasingly clear; so, presumably, the tendency to be happy or miserable is, to some extent, passed on through DNA. To try to establish just what that extent is, a group of scientists from University College, London; Harvard Medical School; the University of California, San Diego; and the University of Zurich examined over 1,000 pairs of twins from a huge study on the health of American adolescents. In âGenes, Economics and Happinessâ, a working paper from the University of Zurichâs Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, they conclude that about a third of the variation in peopleâs happiness is heritable. That is along the lines of, though a little lower than, previous estimates on the subject.
Where the story could become controversial is when the ethnic origins of the volunteers are taken into account. All were Americans, but they were asked to classify themselves by race as well. On average, the Asian Americans in the sample had 0.69 long genes, the black Americans had 1.47 and the white Americans had 1.12.
That result sits comfortably with other studies showing that, on average, Asian countries report lower levels of happiness than their GDP per head would suggest. African countries, however, are all over the place, happinesswise. But that is not surprising, either. Africa is the most genetically diverse continent, because that is where humanity evolved (Asians, Europeans, Aboriginal Australians and Amerindians are all descended from a few adventurers who left Africa about 60,000 years ago). Black Americans, mostly the descendants of slaves carried away from a few places in west Africa, cannot possibly be representative of the whole continent. - The Economist
Personality and happiness level might both be heritable. Well, who would have thought that?
Answer: everyone, about 200 years ago. It was common knowledge and (and still is) common sense.
The iris controls the size of the pupil and gives a person's eyes their colour. It grows into a complex and unique pattern as a fetus develops and remains the same throughout a person's life. This fact has been successfully exploited in iris-based biometric systems, which work on the principle that each iris is completely different to any other.
But that is not strictly true, as Kevin Bowyer at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana and his colleagues have found. They have developed a system that can pick out similarities between irises, instead of differences. Initial tests show it can distinguish between people of two different racial backgrounds and shows promise in determining gender.
When they turned the system on a database of unknown irises of 1200 people, it predicted whether a person was Chinese or Caucasian with over 90 per cent accuracy, and correctly identified gender 62 per cent of the time. - New Scientist