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Stress Test

Traumatic life events trigger genes.

Scientists working at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, have shown once again that the nature-nurture debate is far too simplistic: traits are not due to one or the other, but both. In a paper published in July, they show that a particular genetic variant can increase depression if individuals live through significant stress.1

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1  Caspi, A. et al. (2003) Influence of life stress on depression: moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene. Science 301:386�9.