09 March 2007

I Just Always Thought It Was PMS

Anyone who has raised more than one child from birth understands that children are born with distinct behavioural predispositions and tendencies. Now a study of women of European descent suggests that women, at least, can be genetically predisposed to anger.
University of Pittsburgh researchers have found that behaviors such as anger, hostility and aggression may be genetic, rooted in variations in a serotonin receptor gene. Indrani Halder, Ph.D., of the Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Program at the University of Pittsburgh, will present the findings today at the American Psychosomatic Society's Annual Meeting, held in Budapest, Hungary.

Previous studies have associated the hormone serotonin with anger and aggression in both humans and animals and have shown that increased serotonin activity is related to a decrease in angry and aggressive behaviors. In the study being presented today, researchers sought to determine if this relationship was genetically determined. The study is the first to look at the relationship between variations in the serotonin receptor 2C gene and anger and hostility.

Completed at the University of Pittsburgh's Behavioral Physiology Laboratory, the study looked at 550 unrelated women of European descent. In order to find normal variations in genes and behavior, the women were not prescreened for behavioral type. Researchers found that those who had one or both of two alterations in the promoter region of the serotonin receptor 2C gene were more likely to score lower on two common tests for anger, hostility and aggression.

Now it is only a matter of extending the research to include women of other ethnic groups, and men. I wonder why they selected women particularly for this study? Further speculation on that point has been prematurely curtailed by our sponsor.


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Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

there's a "get a asian mail order bride" joke in there somewhere...
Seriously though, I would be interested to see if the study hold up when you account for socio-economic backgrounds (i.e. came from a stable two-parent home or grew up in a disfunctional household).

Friday, 09 March, 2007  
Blogger al fin said...

Good question.

Eventually, teasing apart causation from association may very well prove that socioeconomic status and behavioural genes are not completely independent variables.

Saturday, 10 March, 2007  

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