Scientists find fear gene

SCIENTISTS may have found a gene for fear – a gene that controls production of a protein in the region of the brain linked with fearful responses.

Their finding, published today, could lead to new treatments for mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and generalised anxiety.
The gene, known as stathmin or oncoprotein 18, is highly concentrated in the amygdala, a region of the brain associated with fear and anxiety, the researchers report in today’s issue of the journal Cell.

“This is a major advance in the field of learning and memory that will allow for a better understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, borderline personality disorder and other human anxiety diseases,” said Gleb Shumyatsky of Rutgers University in New Jersey, who worked on the study.