Despite the vast amount of resources at the disposal of humanity today, the intricacies of human biology are often a mystery. The chemical and biological products of the human genome have been well studied and documented, but many of the chemical and neurological pathways are missing quite a few details. The human stress response is one of the most primal and valuable functions of this code that developed as a self- preservation mechanism (Hans, 1975) to naturally increase the odds of procreation. However, this function is prone to overload, particularly in individuals with certain epigenetic traits instilled by early life events, or even events taking place before their life began. Left unchecked, this overclocked stress response can lead to irate outward behavior with no known cause, and even worse, no known treatments. These irate behaviors can be seen on the experimental level; mice who are not adequately groomed by their mothers expressed an increase glucorticoid receptor (GR) response than mice with adequate grooming (Radtke et al., 2011). In human studies, these GR reactions are responsible for a myriad of mental disorders including suicidal tendencies, psychopathy, and increased aggression. Gene therapy is possible for these epigenetic factors, opening up new possibilities for treatment of mental disorders.
"The Effects of Epigenetics on Stress Response,"
Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science:
Vol. 4, Article 11.
Available at: http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/themis/vol4/iss1/11