If rodent training had beneficial epigenetic effects, how can the next step be human gene therapy?

This 2014 rodent study detailed significant and lasting epigenetic DNA methylation in the hippocampus part of the limbic system as a result of fear-extinction training.

The researchers missed the boat when explaining in interviews how their research could apply to humans. What I understood from the interviews was that the researchers were focused on targeting human genes with some outside action.

Recommending human gene therapy smelled like an agenda. If these epigenetic modifications were induced by training in rodents, wouldn’t the next step be research into reversal training or therapeutic activity for humans?

The researchers also found:

“Importantly, these effects were specific to extinction training and did not occur in mice that had been fear conditioned, followed by a single reactivation trial, therefore arguing against the possibility that such epigenetic modifications are nonspecifically induced by the retrieval or reconsolidation of the original fear memory.”

This was fine for rodent studies where the origins of both the disease and the cure were all exerted externally. I didn’t see that it necessarily applied to humans.

After all, we’re not lab rats. We can perform effective therapy that doesn’t involve some outside action being done to us.

http://www.pnas.org/content/111/19/7120.full “Neocortical Tet3-mediated accumulation of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine promotes rapid behavioral adaptation”

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