Similar genes linked to anxious behavior in chickens, mice, and humans

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What do humans, mice and chickens have in common? A new study from Linköping University in Sweden suggests we may share common genes linked to anxiety and fear.

In the latest genetic study, researchers were interested in figuring out why domestic chickens are less anxious than their wild cousins, the red junglefowl. A genetic analysis, paired with studies in humans, identified several genes that are responsible for these behavioral differences, many of which are similar to those found in mice, according to a news release.

“By necessity, human genetic studies of behavior often focus only on susceptibility to a mental health disorder. But what about more subtle differences in behavior? For example, what makes one person a little more anxious than others? And what makes someone else a little bolder?” said Dominic Wright, study leader from Linköping University.

Researchers found four of the genes related to anxious behavior in the chickens were also associated with those responsible for anxiety in mice, while three were associated with schizophrenia or bipolar disease previously identified in humans.

“Though we can’t yet prove these genes have equivalent functions in chicken and humans, the data certainly raises the intriguing possibility that genes controlling variation in behavior can be remarkably conserved between a whole variety of species,” Wright explained in the release.

Read full, original post: Anxiety and Genetics: Common Genes May Explain Anxious Behavior In Chickens, Humans and Mice

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