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So Happy Together

A small percentage of someone's happiness in marriage could be attributed to what gene variant they harbor, the Independent reports.

Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health uncovered a link between spouses' OXTR polymorphisms and marital satisfaction. OXTR encodes an oxytocin receptor, which has been linked to social behaviors. As the Yale team reports in PLOS One this week, they studied 178 married couples that under went genotyping and completed surveys asking about attachment security and marital satisfaction

They found that when at least one member of the married couple harbored the GG variant at OXTR rs53576, both members of the couple reported higher marital happiness. The GG genotype also was associated with less anxious attachment in the relationship, they report.

"This study shows that how we feel in our close relationships is influenced by more than just our shared experiences with our partners over time," first author, Joan Monin, an associate professor at Yale, says in a statement. "In marriage, people are also influenced by their own and their partner's genetic predisposition."

She and her colleagues estimated, though, that the influence of genotype is relatively small, accounting for about 4 percent of the variance in satisfaction.