A modified gene DNA that makes men and mice act alike in anxiety, under lab conditions, can help study human behaviour more precisely.

The findings may help open the way to new clinical strategies to treat humans with anxiety disorders, such as phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“We found that humans and mice who had the same human genetic alteration also had greater difficulty in extinguishing an anxious-like response to adverse stimuli,” explains B.J. Casey, senior study co-author and psychology professor at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The researchers observed common behavioural responses between humans and mice that possess an alteration in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene.

The mice were genetically altered - meaning that they had a human genetic variation inserted within their genome, said a Weill Cornell release.

These findings were published in Science.

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