Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Don't leave me alone! I have extra GTF2I!

Parents love to take their children to the park to socialize with others so that they become comfortable around strangers. There is always that one child you notice that clings tight to their parents like magnets on metal. You can't help but wonder why they fear from separating from their parents. Could it be that they experienced a traumatic separation from their parents that they are now frightened when they are separated? That's one explanation. However, according to this article, people may suffer from separation anxiety due to the extra copy of GTF2I gene on chromosome 7. Lucy Osborne of the University of Toronto discovered an affect of the gene and studied it using mice. She genetically modified two groups of newborn mice. One group was missing part of the GTF2I gene while the other group had an extra copy. Osborne and her colleagues noticed that when they separated the mother from the newborns, those with the extra copy created a more vibrant signal urging their mothers to get them. Although, it was interesting to read how the researchers found the affects of gene, I don't think it's a discovery that will be life changing. Now the next time you talk to parents and notice their child is clinging to them, you can let them know that their child has an extra copy of GTF2I. What an ice breaking topic!


  1. This post is very interesting. Has testing been performed on humans who have the extra GTF2I gene?. I am curious to know how the results would fair. Testing on mice has made many scientific breakthroughs, However I'm not sure that I'm sold based on comparing the psychology of mice with the psychology of humans.

  2. I wish I knew this when I worked as a summer camp counselor for four-year-olds last summer! I would have been much more understanding instead of assuming that these types of kids are overly needy!

  3. I believe that the environment in which the child is raised leads to the possibility to develop separation anxiety as well, but it is interesting to see it as genetic component.