Direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe surveyed 100,000 of its customers about whether they became angry when they were hungry to find that 75 percent said they did. As Janie Shelton notes at the company's blog, this prompted researchers there to conduct a genome-wide association study among European-ancestry research participants. The 23andMe researchers uncovered two regions — in the genes VRK2 and ERI1 — that reached genome-wide significance. Both these genes have been linked to personality and neuropsychiatric conditions, Shelton says, including irritability, neuroticism, schizophrenia, and depression.
"Taken together, these results suggest that feeling angry and irritable when hungry may have origins in the genes that govern our personalities and mental health," Shelton writes. "While we initially expected feeling hangry to be more directly related to blood sugar regulation, these results are not a complete surprise because many of the genes involved in obesity implicate pathways that act in the brain."