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Mental Health Genetic Research

DNA Research In Dogs, Mice, And People Finds 4 Genes Linked To OCD

2 years, 3 months ago

5225  0
Posted on Oct 30, 2017, 1 p.m.

OCD isn't just a human affliction

Not only are dogs man’s best friend, but it seems we are actually genetically linked; that is, we’re very similar, especially when it comes to shared diseases. This information may help researchers understand the related disorders.

Ewen Kirkness, a molecular biologist at the Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Maryland  has found that K-9’s share more than 350 genetic disorders, and that the genes responsible seem to be pretty consistent between the two species. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is just one example receiving scrutiny recently.


OCD may not seem to be a bother to most people; unless you suffer from it. It seems that dogs as well as humans can develop OCD, and there is a genetic link. While the exact biological genomes is not yet fully understood, Elinor Karlsson a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University seems to be hot on the trail.

Animals and humans with OCD become caught in a repetitive action or thoughts from which they are nearly unable to escape. Reference Sheldon Cooper from the TV show The Big Bang Theory; he always has to knock on a door 3 times while repeating the occupants name. Repetitive hand washing and/or fear of germs is another example. Autism is also strongly associated with OCD. In dogs, it can be constant licking or scratching or even barking out of habit, rather than from a genuine stimulant.

Research published in Nature Communications, found four specific genes that seem directly connected with OCD. While researching 3 different sets of DNA, 2 from dogs and mice, and one from humans; they discovered strong similarities. Initially scientists identified 608 genes from 600 people with OCD and 600 people without.  Patients with ODC consistently revealed 4 gene mutations said Hyun Ji Noh, the geneticist and lead author at Broad Institute.

Because OCD is a very complicated disorder, the presence of the variation in the gene means it’s more likely to manifest however, it doesn’t mean a person will contract it. Brain mapping and images show that hyperactivity in the cortical-striatal loop may be involved with these genes may retard synaptic communication and motor control.

Normally a singular action, like washing hands, once completed, will stop the thoughts. However, with OCD the thoughts continue and repeat. REEP3 an unexpected gene discovered by Grado is attached to learning disorders. OCD is like a learning disorder in that once an action is completed the brain forgets and tends to repeat. This is especially true with germ phobias.

Science: Angus Chen

DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3161

National Geographic


By: Dr. Michael J. Koch, Editor for and Dr. Ronald Klatz, DO, MD President of the A4M which has 28,000 Physician Members, and has trained over 150,000 physicians, health professionals and scientists around the world in the new specialty of Anti-Aging Medicine. A4M physicians are now providing advanced preventative medical care for over 10’s of Million individuals worldwide who now recognize that aging is no longer inevitable.

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