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Overcoming fear relies on an unusual change in DNA. One day, DNA therapy could help to cure disorders like social anxiety or PTSD.

University of Queensland researchers taught mice to fear and then unfear a specific sound. First, the mice were placed in a box and exposed to the sound, followed by a mild shock. Quickly, the mice began to associate the shock with the sound and froze when they heard it.

The mice were then placed in another box, and exposed to the same sound, but no shock. When they were returned to their original box, they no longer feared the sound.

Researchers discovered a DNA modification when the mice conquered their fears. They found that overcoming the fear relied on this unusual change in DNA.

While early, researchers hope one day these findings could improve treatment for phobias, anxiety, and PTSD in human patients.


University of Queensland (2019, February 19). Extinguishing Fear Memories Relies On An Unusual Change to DNA. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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