Genetic animal models of anxiety

124 Scopus citations


The focus of this review is on progress achieved in identifying specific genes conferring risk for anxiety disorders through the use of genetic animal models. We discuss gene-finding studies as well as those manipulating a candidate gene. Both human and animal studies thus far support the genetic complexity of anxiety. Clinical manifestations of these diseases are likely related to multiple genes. While different anxiety disorders and anxiety-related traits all appear to be genetically influenced, it has been difficult to ascertain genetic influences in common. Mouse studies have provisionally mapped several loci harboring genes that affect anxiety-related behavior. The growing array of mutant mice is providing valuable information about how genes and environment interact to affect anxious behavior via multiple neuropharmacological pathways. Classical genetic methods such as artificial selection of rodents for high or low anxiety are being employed. Expression array technologies have as yet not been employed, but can be expected to implicate novel candidates and neurobiological pathways.



  • Animal models
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Neurochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Finn, D. D., Rutledge-Gorman, M. T., & Crabbe, J. J. (2003). Genetic animal models of anxiety. Neurogenetics, 4(3), 109-135.