"Teen Gene" Discovery Could Unlock Mysteries of the Human Brain

By Jasmin Thompson

Researchers have recently discovered a new gene they call DCC, also known as the ‘teen gene'.  Scientists at the Douglass Institute Research Center believe that the discovery of this new gene could help to more fully understanding the teenage phase of brain development.  It may help determine which teenagers are the most susceptible to drug addiction and to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression.   

Researchers at the Institute did a study on mice to test how the teen gene affects the brain. They discovered that mice with a dysfunctional copy of the teen gene experienced behavioral problems all the way through adulthood. 

They compared the presence of the teen gene in people who had committed suicide, and people who had not. According to the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, the brains from people who committed suicide showed that the DCC or teen gene presence was "About 48% higher when compared to controlled subjects".

With this discovery, researchers now have the first step to developing more effective pharmaceuticals and other types of therapies to combat some psychiatric disorders.  For more information on the subject, you can click the link below.


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