Chromosome glitch tied to separation anxiety | Science News

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Chromosome glitch tied to separation anxiety

Finding joins other links between extra or missing genes and mental conditions

By
8:05am, November 17, 2011

WASHINGTON — Separation anxiety in some children may be due to extra doses of a particular gene.

The gene, GTF2I, is located on human chromosome 7. People missing part of the chromosome that contains GTF2I have a condition called Williams syndrome and are generally extra social. On the other hand, people who have extra copies of that part of chromosome 7 may have social and other types of anxiety: About 26 percent of children with an extra copy the region containing GTF2I have been diagnosed by a doctor as having separation anxiety, human geneticist Lucy Osborne of the University of Toronto said November 15 at a press conference at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting.

Osborne and colleagues genetically engineered mice to have a duplicate copy or two of GTF2I, or to be missing one copy of the gene, then tested the effect of the gene dosage on separation anxiety with a squeak test. Week-old baby mice separa

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