Published On: Thu, Jun 23rd, 2016

Silencing specific gene may affect social behavior

Students in science class

Students in science class

A new research study has stated that silencing a particular gene can affect human social behavior, involving a person’s skill to make healthy associations or to recognize the emotional states of others.

The scientists evaluated that how a procedure recognized as methylation — which can decrease the appearance of particular genes — affects a gene named OXT.

This gene is accountable for the construction of a hormone named oxytocin, which is connected to an extensive variety of social behaviors in humans and further mammals.

Brian Haas, who is the assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Georgia in the US, has stated that “Methylation restricts how much a gene is expressed,” Haas continued by saying that “An increase in methylation typically corresponds to a decrease in the expression of a gene, so it affects how much a particular gene is functioning,” Haas further added “When methylation increases on the OXT gene, this may correspond to a reduction in this gene’s activity. Our study shows that this can have a profound impact on social behaviors,”

The research study was presented in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Haas and his collaborator’s composed saliva samples from in excess of 120 study members to carry out genetic tests that demonstrate the levels of methylation of the OXT gene. The members went via a battery of tests to weigh up their social skills and also their brain arrangement and work.

What they discovered is that members with better methylation of the OXT gene — probably matching to lower levels of OXT appearance — had further complexity identifying emotional facial terms and inclined to have much anxiety regarding their associations with loved ones.


About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.