An association of the level of personal anxiety with polymorphic variants of the gene encoding serotonin transporter (5-HTT) in 57 Russian residents of Siberia and 62 Tuvinians was studied. The 5-HTT gene polymorphic variants were determined be means of allele-specific PCR with DNA isolated from the blood of subjects as a matrix. The level of explicit anxiety was established by means of Spielberger–Khanin questionnaire; implicit anxiety was established by means of associative test. Indices of aggressiveness, impulsiveness, behavioral activation and inhibition systems (BAS and BIS) were additionally determined in each subject. The 5-HTT gene S-allele was significantly more frequently found in the Tuvinians, while the L allele was more common in Russians. The implicit and explicit anxiety levels were lower in carriers of the LL genotype than in carriers of the SS genotype; LS heterozygotes demonstrated intermediate values of anxiety. The sex and ethnicity factors were associated with the level of explicit (but not implicit) anxiety. Tuvinian men with the SS genotype demonstrated a low explicit anxiety level, while Russian men with this genotype demonstrated high anxiety level. No intergroup differences were found in women with the SS genotype. An association of 5-HTT gene polymorphic variants with BAS indices and an inclination to verbal aggression was also detected. The data can be interpreted as an index of differences in the direction of anxiety in different cultures. Theoretically, genetically highly anxious Tuvinian men are afraid to show fear, since manifestation of fear is condemned in their social environment.
- interethnic differences
- personal anxiety
- polymorphic variants of serotonin transporter gene