Researchers are on the hunt for the personality gene. They hope it will lead them to screen tests that can predict which pharmaceuticals patients would respond most positively to, as well as what life choices may lead certain individuals to become who they are.
They even want to know how to proactively vaccinate the human population to discriminate against undesired genetic traits.
At the Duke Neurogenetics department in Duke University Medical Center, undergraduate students are conducting experiments to gather information on people through brain scans, psychological tests and genetic markers.
This study is led by Professor Ahmed Hariri, hopes to unlock the mysteries of a person’s innate propensity toward anxiety, alcoholism, and other defining psychological traits. Through the decoding of human DNA, this just might be possible.
Just over 10 years ago, Hariri and another team published a study at the National Institutes of Health that linked a particular gene to the inner workings of the human brain. Through the serotonin transport gene, Hariri was able to decipher the codes of a protein that assist in distributing serotonin to neurons. Hariri found most people carry either long or short versions of this gene. The short version intimated those people had a greater propensity toward anxiety disorders.
Hariri now wants to find a correlation between short serotonin genes and psychological behavior as measured with a CT scan. When we perceive anger in a facial expression, our amygdala is triggered. When people with a shorter gene perceive angry facial expressions, their response in the amygdala is stronger.
Through Hariri’s work, nearly 30 studies have confirmed his findings, which have spawned more research into using genes to determine propensity toward depression, anxiety-related disorders and the genetics of psychological illnesses .
Genes, if they affect our brains, as Hariri supposes, could be tweaked through pharmacological influence to produce a specific desired reaction.
Serotonin is known to be involved in emotions. Hariri is centering his experiments there. Genes controlling intelligence may be linked to this bio-chemical.
The drug corporations are currently developing pharmacological substitutes to block and break people’s addictive propensities as aids to psychological treatments.
Vaccines to treat cocaine and nicotine addictions are being advanced in the hopes to use immunizations as proactive protection against the development of an addiction.
There is even debate over whether or not to vaccinate children that show genetic propensity toward addictions.
Benzodiazepine, an ethanol replacement in alcoholic drinks, could become a “sober pill” that could be offered in bars by 2030 to reduce the effects of alcohol on consumers.
23andMe , a California based corporation, examines a person’s genome to identify natural propensities to diseases. Hariri hopes this company can link brain activity to genes, even if their influence is minimal.
Hariri is searching for the brain’s reward regions that apply to genetic controls. He has had promising results with a brain enzyme called FAAH. Variation of this gene can alter a person’s perception of reward and threat.
The goal of these studies is to create a comprehensive genetic test for the mind. This test could help show how effective drugs like Prozac will affect an individual’s propensity toward mental disorders like depression.
Predetermination toward certain mental “vulnerabilities” can assist the psychiatric community in proactively prescribe pharmaceuticals to patients.
Researchers can screen a patient, identify responsible genes and develop a drug that would target the undesirable mental disorder.
Eugenicists of the past would be proud of Hariri’s efforts to advance their agenda of eliminating what they consider traits in humanity that are a detriment to the advancement of our species.
Source: Occupy Corporatism – Susanne Posel