‘Junk DNA’ key to controlling fear

23 Mar 2022

A piece of “junk DNA” could be the key to extinguishing fear-related memories for people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobia, according to a study from The University of Queensland.

An international research project, led by the Queensland Brain Institute’s Associate Professor Timothy Bredy, discovered the new gene while investigating how the genome responds to traumatic experiences.

“Until recently, scientists thought the majority of our genes were made up of junk DNA, which essentially didn’t do anything.” Dr Bredy said.

“But when researchers began to explore these regions, they realised that most of the genome is active and transcribed.”

This study was published in Cell Reports (sciencedirect.) with support from the Brain & Behaviour Research Foundation (NARSAD), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Australian Research Council, and the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation.

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