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Oxytocin (OXT) Gene

Description:
Oxytocin (OXT) is a gene that plays a role in social behaviors in many species. Oxytocin dysfunction may be a cause for autism.
Transcript:
Oxytocin (OXT) is a peptide hormone found in almost all mammals. The structure of oxytocin is very similar to vasopressin. The two genes are located close together on the same chromosome (chromosome 20 in humans) and it is possible that they were produced by a duplication event in a single gene approximately 500 million years ago. Oxytocin and vasopressin are the only hormones released by the posterior pituitary gland that can affect cells in distant parts of the body. Oxytocin has a role in social behaviors in many species, and mice with a mutant OXT gene show impaired social skills (Ferguson and colleagues, 2000). Hollander and colleagues (2007) found that oxytocin dysfunction may be a cause for autism. Moreover, the researchers suggest that treatment with oxytocin may counteract social difficulties associated with the disorder.
Keywords:
oxytocin, oxt, pituitary gland, social behavior, vasopressin, autism, hormone, gene, chromosome, map
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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