Scientists unravel genetic link to trauma

Washington: Scientists have uncovered genetic clues as to why some mice are still fearful while others are resilient to traumatic experiences -- knowledge that could help those suffering with crippling anxiety and sense of distress, a study reveals.

"Our work with mice demonstrates how genes play a role in developing and extinguishing pathological fear like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)," said Gleb Shumyatsky, associate professor of genetics at the Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences.

"It is clear that previous life experiences are not the only cause of PTSD - genetic predispositions may make some people more sensitive and others more resilient to PTSD," added Shumyatsky, the journal Public Library of Science ONE reported.

Since humans and animals register fear in the brain similarly, the discovery is an important step to understanding how genes work in the brain to control learning and memory as well as reactions to fearful and traumatic experiences, a university statement said.


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