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Gene associations with human anxiety (MAGMA)

Cite this dataset

Brasher, Maizy et al. (2022). Gene associations with human anxiety (MAGMA) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Anxiety disorders are common and can be debilitating, with effective treatments remaining hampered by an incomplete understanding of the underlying genetic etiology. Improvements have been made in understanding the genetic influences on mouse behavioral models of anxiety, yet it is unclear the extent to which genes identified in these experimental systems contribute to genetic variation in human anxiety phenotypes. Leveraging new and existing large-scale human genome-wide association studies, we tested whether sets of genes previously identified in mouse anxiety-like behavior studies contribute to a range of human anxiety disorders. When tested as individual genes, thirteen mouse-identified genes were associated with human anxiety phenotypes, suggesting an overlap of individual genes contributing to both mouse models of anxiety-like behaviors and human anxiety traits. When genes were tested as sets, we did identify fourteen significant associations between mouse gene sets and human anxiety, but the majority of gene sets showed no significant association with human anxiety phenotypes. These few significant associations indicate a need to identify and develop more translatable mouse models by identifying sets of genes that ‘match’ between model systems and specific human phenotypes of interest. We suggest that continuing to develop improved behavioral paradigms and finer-scale experimental data, for instance from individual neuronal subtypes or cell-type-specific expression data, is likely to improve our understanding of the genetic etiology and underlying functional changes in anxiety disorders.


National Institute on Aging, Award: AG046938-06

National Institute on Drug Abuse, Award: DA044283-01

National Institute of Mental Health, Award: MH100141-06

National Institute on Drug Abuse, Award: DA017637

National Institute on Drug Abuse, Award: DA051937

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Award: AA026733

National Institute on Aging, Award: AG064465

National Science Foundation, Award: ACI-1532235

National Science Foundation, Award: ACI-1532236