Profiles in Fear

Science's STKE  23 Jul 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 142, pp. tw266-TW266
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.142.tw266

Linking genotype to phenotype has been particularly challenging in the realm of neurotransmitter metabolism and subjective assessments of human behavior and personality. Anxiety-related traits have been associated with the biogenic amine serotonin, an important mediator and modulator of emotion and mood, and a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter, which sequesters synaptic serotonin. Hariri et al. present the results of a functional brain imaging of normal individuals. An increased responsiveness of the amygdala (a brain structure intimately involved in emotional processing) to fearful stimuli was seen in subjects carrying one or two copies of the "s" allele of the transporter, in contrast to those with two copies of the "l" allele.

A. R. Hariri, V. S. Mattay, A. Tessitore, B. Kolachana, F. Fera, D. Goldman, M. F. Egan, D. R. Weinberger, Serotonin transporter genetic variation and the response of the human amygdala, Science 297, 400-403 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]