Female-specific genetic factors that contribute to emotional behaviors

September 30, 1999

Different individuals may react in different ways to the same stressful life events. Such individual differences are due to both genetic and non-genetic factors and they may be important in the development of certain psychiatric disorders such as anxiety-related ones. These are the most common class of mental disorder in humans, with women being diagnosed more frequently than men.

Genetic studies using laboratory animals will help scientists to identify genes that influence (in interaction with the environment) emotional reactions possibly related to anxiety. The authors have identified, through this approach, a region on rat's chromosome 4 containing gene(s) strongly affecting a behavior thought to reflect emotionality or anxiety. Interestingly, this chromosomic region (also called locus) affects female but not male rats.

Further investigation of this locus may give clues as to the biological and gender-related mechanisms involved in the development of emotional disorders.

Full reference: A Ramos, M-P Moisan, F Chaouloff, C Mormède, P Mormède. Identification of female-specific QTLs affecting an emotionality-related behavior in rats. Mol Psychiatry 1999;4:453-462.

Researchers from the Division of Neurogenetics, INSERM U 471, INRA, Institute François Magendie, Bordeaux Cédex, France, and from the Departments of Cell Biology, Embriology, and Genetics, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, SC, Brazil, contributed to the study.
For further information on this work, please contact Dr. André Ramos, Departmento de Biologia Celular, Embriologia e Genética-CCB, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, 88.040-900 Florianópolis, SC, Brazil; Tel: +55-48-331-98-04; FAX: +55-48-331-96-72 or +55-48-234-40-69; e-mail: andre@ccb.ufsc.br

Molecular Psychiatry is an independent, peer-reviewed journal published by the Nature Publishing Group. Editorial decisions and publication in Molecular Psychiatry do not constitute endorsement by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institutes of Health or any branch of the government of the United States of America.

Editor: Julio Licinio, M.D.; phone: +1 310 993-8196; e-mail: licinio@ucla.edu

Pre-prints of this article can be obtained from Ms. Julie Vianello; phone: +1 301-496-6979; FAX: +1 301-402-1561; e-mail: j.vianello@stockton-press.co.uk

Molecular Psychiatry

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