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Biotech Medicine

Controlling Fear By Modifying DNA 105

An anonymous reader writes "The fear of flying or of skittering spiders can mean more than just a momentary increase in heart rate and a pair of sweaty palms. A hard-core phobia can lead to crippling anxiety. Now an international team of researchers says it believes it has found a way to silence the gene that feeds phobic fear via a novel mechanism of gene regulation associated with fear extinction. The notion appears to be that phobias arise from experiences that have left an outsized imprint on gene expression, and that undoing this can undo the anxiety itself. The study was published this month (abstract) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
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Controlling Fear By Modifying DNA

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @02:30PM (#46942069)

    Lack of fear as a child has been correlated with development of criminal behavior later in life: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/712468

    While reducing the fear response could be useful as a treatment for a crippling phobia, it would almost certainly contribute to risky behavior as well.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @02:37PM (#46942119) Homepage
    they want to screw with our minds? Worse - with fear? You can't like start with getting rid of diabetic tendencies? Or even give us the power to choose our own skin color? One sure way to end racism in the US at least (of course we would probably have to change hair type as well).

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.