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Behav Genet. 2012 May;42(3):437-48. doi: 10.1007/s10519-011-9524-8. Epub 2012 Jan 12.

Genome-wide association for fear conditioning in an advanced intercross mouse line.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago, 920 E 58th St., Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Fear conditioning (FC) may provide a useful model for some components of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We used a C57BL/6J × DBA/2J F(2) intercross (n = 620) and a C57BL/6J × DBA/2J F(8) advanced intercross line (n = 567) to fine-map quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with FC. We conducted an integrated genome-wide association analysis in QTLRel and identified five highly significant QTL affecting freezing to context as well as four highly significant QTL associated with freezing to cue. The average percent decrease in QTL width between the F(2) and the integrated analysis was 59.2%. Next, we exploited bioinformatic sequence and expression data to identify candidate genes based on the existence of non-synonymous coding polymorphisms and/or expression QTLs. We identified numerous candidate genes that have been previously implicated in either fear learning in animal models (Bcl2, Btg2, Dbi, Gabr1b, Lypd1, Pam and Rgs14) or PTSD in humans (Gabra2, Oprm1 and Trkb); other identified genes may represent novel findings. The integration of F(2) and AIL data maintains the advantages of studying FC in model organisms while significantly improving resolution over previous approaches.

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