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The Funny Gene: Why Some People Are Born To Make People Laugh

The Funny Gene: Why Some People Are Born To Make People Laugh

By now, you’ve mastered the art of telling jokes and making people laugh. The elements that make you funny, those you are well aware of. But, how you got this way? That's an entirely different story. At a very young age, you thought that the trait is being passed down from your parents or genetically.

But it appears that science may provide evidence for the contrary. Researchers have, in fact, located a “funny gene”, according to David Grimm of Science Mag. What exactly is the driving force behind why some are better suited to make people laugh than others? There's a gene dubbed “HAHA-1”, the funny gene. This gene’s protein contains a large number of histidines and alanines which is why researchers have named it HAHA-1. Therefore, people that are funnier such as clowns and comedians theoretically possess higher levels of this protein.

Horace Epstein, a geneticist at the Lachen Institute in Trenton, New Jersey was the man behind the research, according to Grimm. Epstein believed that certain people were funnier that others due to some genetic variation. Researchers looked for a family with strong humor history and Epstein compared members of this family who favors Seinfeld with members of the family who preferred more news-oriented programming like C-SPAN. Using computer databases, Epstein collected candidate genes and continued to express these genes in mice.

While many of the samples led to no significant effect, there was one gene, the HAHA-1 gene, that provoked the mice to produce a high-pitched squeak when shown a picture of cat getting hit by an anvil. While this is far from concrete evidence, Epstein seems to think that we can safely assume that the mice were laughing at the cat’s misfortune.

 

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