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Controlling fear by modifying DNA

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Posted April 29, 2014
Controlling fear by modifying DNA
Neuroscientists from The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute may have found a way to silence the gene that feeds fear.

For many people, fear of flying or of spiders skittering across the lounge room floor is more than just a momentary increase in heart rate and a pair of sweaty palms.

It’s a hard-core phobia that can lead to crippling anxiety, but an international team of researchers, including neuroscientists from The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), may have found a way to silence the gene that feeds this fear.

QBI senior research fellow Dr Timothy Bredy said the team had shed new light on the processes involved in loosening the grip of fear-related memories, particularly those implicated in conditions such as phobia and .

Dr Bredy said they had discovered a novel mechanism of gene regulation associated with , an inhibitory learning process thought to be critical for controlling fear when the response was no longer required.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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