Seasonal Genes and the Science of Fear

We know what happens when the seasons change, some parts of the planet get hotter while some get colder, winter turns to spring, spring turns to summer and summer to autumn, all depending on where we are on the globe. New research has shown that we also have seasonal genes, so the weather is not the only thing that changes.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed  that some diseases such as arthritis get worse in the colder months, but it was thought to be down to various factors. We now know that there is a very good reason for this, it’s to do with our seasonal genes. our immune system has certain genes associated with it, and it seems these switch on and off depending on the season.

A worldwide study of genes using 16,000 samples displayed that some genes are more active at certain times of the year, and that this is shown by the amount of proteins produced at different times. The study found that out of 23,000 genes, 5,000 were much more active in certain seasons. But that ‘s not the only interesting gene research to come to light recently.

It seems that scientists studying a fruit fly, drosophila, have found that they experience fear emotions like anxiety and dread. They discovered this by comparing reactions to stimuli. they used a shadow passing overhead to scare them, and measured the responses.

It seems that the more it was passed over the more agitated the flies became, the stimulus was creating a larger and larger response each time. The reflexes were continuous and scaling a higher response each time, which is what they classified as fear. While this experiment seems cruel and needless, it can help us to study the evolution and origins of fear. Imagine if we could find ways to switch the genes off, yet again there is further advancement to the human race.