How brain responds to stressful situations depends on gene

How brain responds to stressful situations depends on gene
Highlights

A new study has found the mechanism used by a hidden gene to affect how the brain responds to stressful experiences, in a discovery that could eventually help control anxiety.

London: A new study has found the mechanism used by a hidden gene to affect how the brain responds to stressful experiences, in a discovery that could eventually help control anxiety.

Dr Timothy Bredy and Dr Tim Bredy from University of Queensland together with colleagues at the University of California Irvine and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, discovered that Gomafu, a gene recently associated with schizophrenia, that causes behaviours that may be key to understanding both schizophrenia and anxiety. UQ Queensland Brain Institute researcher Dr Timothy Bredy said by looking across the entire genome for genes responsive to fear-related experience, they found that Gomafu was regulated in the adult brain.
“When Gomafu is decreased or turned off, we observe the kind of behavioural changes that are seen in anxiety and schizophrenia,” Dr Bredy said.
The gene, identified as a long non-coding RNA, was found to occur within a section of the genome most commonly associated with “junk” DNA – the 98 per cent of the human genome that, until recently, was thought to have no function.
These findings will help to resolve the current criticisms surrounding genome-wide association studies, where the majority of gene mutations are related to neuropsychiatric disorders.
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