Did you know? Some fears may be genetic

Some fears or panics may have a genetic origin. Thus concluded a study carried out by scientists Japanese, American and Chinese, who discovered a protein in mice that makes them fear predators when they smell them, which would show that this reaction is innate and not learned, as several investigations have pointed out so far.

Until now it was believed that fear behaviors caused by odors originated in the olfactory nerve, which sends electrical impulses to the brain, but this research found that Trpa1 is activated in cells of the trigeminal nerve, a cranial nerve that causes facial pain and other physical stimuli, explained Dr. Qinghua Liu, a professor at the Japanese University of Tsukuba.

“It is the first advance towards a genetic representation of the emotion of fear, which can be a powerful approach to identify its core genes and explain the molecular mechanism of innate fear, a basic emotion and an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for survival,” explained Liu .

The researchers verified by genetic testing that the loss of Trpa1 prevented the production of certain proteins and that the affected mice had a more intrepid behavior despite having come into contact with the scent of predators. The study, which took five years, found that mice are paralyzed with fear just by smelling predators like foxes or snakes, even if they have never seen them before.