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Genetics of Social Anxiety

Researchers have linked a serotonin transporter gene variant to social anxiety disorder risk, Psychology Today reports.

A team of German and Swiss researchers genotyped 24 SNPs in a cohort of 321 social anxiety disorder patients and 804 controls. As the team reports this month in Psychiatric Genetics, one of the two SNPs that reached nominal significance in their association analysis — rs140701 — showed an association that was in the same allelic direction as reported previously. The researchers note that the association became more pronounced when they focused on social anxiety disorder patients without panic disorder.

That SNP is located with serotonin transporter gene SLC6A4, which, the researchers note, is the primary target of the selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors that are used to treat both depression and anxiety disorders.

In a quantitative association analysis, they also noted an association at rs10994359, located near the ANK3 gene, which has been linked to bipolar disorder.

"There is still a great deal to be done in terms of researching the genetic causes of this illness," says first author Andreas Forstner from the University of Bonn in a statement. "Until now, only a few candidate genes have been known that could be linked to this."

The Scan

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