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基因长短影响情绪

2009-03-08
基因长短影响情绪

基因对我们的影响几乎无处不在,前不久英国科学家就发现一个名为5-HTTLPR的基因与人们的情绪密切相关。该基因不同长度的变体能够影响到生活的快乐程度。
Looking on the bright side: biased attention and the human serotonin transporter gene
Elaine Fox*, Anna Ridgewell and Chris Ashwin Department of Psychology, University of Essex Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK Author for correspondence
AbstractHumans differ in terms of biased attention for emotional stimuli and these biases can confer differential resilience and vulnerability to emotional disorders. Selective processing of positive emotional information, for example, is associated with enhanced sociability and well-being while a bias for negative material is associated with neuroticism and anxiety.
A tendency to selectively avoid negative material might also be associated with mental health and well-being. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying these cognitive phenotypes are currently unknown. Here we show for the first time that allelic variation in the promotor region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) is associated with differential biases for positive and negative affective pictures. Individuals homozygous for the long allele (LL) showed a marked bias to selectively process positive affective material alongside selective avoidance of negative affective material. This potentially protective pattern was absent among individuals carrying the short allele (S or SL). Thus, allelic variation on a common genetic polymorphism was associated with the tendency to selectively process positive or negative information.
The current study is important in demonstrating a genotype-related alteration in a well-established processing bias, which is a known risk factor in determining both resilience and vulnerability to emotional disorders.
Keywords: cognitive bias serotonin transporter gene selective attention
研究者招募了97名男女参加实验,经过事先的检测,有16人的基因变体较长,其他人则拥有两个较短或一长一短的变体。

随后研究人员从数据库中选出一些图片,按其蕴含信息的正面、负面或中性等属性,将这些图片分为三类。受试者浏览过这些图片后,长变体携带者更加关注令人愉悦的图片,而自动“屏蔽”负面恐怖的图片,而其他人的表现恰好与前者相反。

经过进一步的研究,科学家发现5-HTTLPR基因是决定血清素发挥作用的重要因子,而后者是一种与情绪关联颇深的激素,是很多抗抑郁药的作用靶点。
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本栏目主要介绍基因工程方面,包括人类基因组计划、转基因、基因技术、基因长短影响情绪等。特别关注有关人与文化方面的研究。

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