Alf is often accused of being a grumpy old bugger.
It transpires he was born that way.
He has learned this today from an account of some work by scientists at Warwick University who have discovered the gene responsible for serotonin levels in the brain is responsible for setting one’s mood.
The shorter the gene, the lower the levels of the mood-enhancing hormone.
The longer the gene the higher the levels of serotonin, and so people are happier.
Danes are found to be happiest, and they happen to have the longest form of the gene.
People in France are most miserable, with the shortest form of the gene.
The Daily Mail gives an account of the research today:
The French are often accused of being grumpy and dismissive.
But Britons and Americans are also hardwired to be miserable, scientists claim.
Despite stable governments and good economies, those living in the UK and US will never be as happy as people in other nations, because they are simply born more miserable.
They are genetically programmed to be less cheerful than the Danes, for example, who top the list of the happiest nation.
Short forms of the gene inhibit levels of the hormone, which can invoke depression.
Meanwhile those with longer forms of the gene are more likely to be happier, as a result of higher levels of serotonin in the body.
Annual tables of national happiness ratings, compiled by organisations across the world tend to rank Denmark at the top, along with nations including Panama and Vietnam.
And sure enough ,researchers discovered people from Denmark have the longest form of the gene.
Some wealthy Western countries fare less well on these happiness charts because there are big schisms between rich and poor or they have high unemployment rates or less job satisfaction for instance.
But according to Professor Oswald, many of these may still be miserable even if they are earning a fortune, basking in sunshine and living to 100.
His findings from 131 countries for the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences, found genetics to be the most important factor but not the only one.
He said: ‘There was a direct correlation between the (US) individual’s reported happiness, and the levels of happiness in the country their ancestors had come from.
‘Our study revealed an unexplained correlation between the happiness today of some nations and the observed happiness of Americans whose ancestors came from these nations.’