Brain Research on Sea Slugs

Posted on December 29, 2006  Comments (1)

How many genes does it take to learn? Lessons from sea slugs

“In the human brain there are a hundred billion neurons, each expressing at least 18,000 genes, and the level of expression of each gene is different,” said Moroz, who is affiliated with UF’s Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute and the UF Genetics Institute. “Understanding individual genes or proteins is important, but this is a sort of molecular alphabet. This helps us learn the molecular grammar, or a set of rules that can control orchestrated activity of multiple genes. If we are going to understand memory or neurological disease at the cellular level, we need to understand the rules.”

Scientists also analyzed 146 human genes implicated in 168 neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and genes controlling aging and stem-cell differentiation. They found 104 counterpart genes in Aplysia, suggesting it will be a valuable tool for developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

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One Response to “Brain Research on Sea Slugs”

  1. Curious Cat Science Blog » How The Brain Rewires Itself
    March 29th, 2009 @ 9:26 am

    “they glimpsed a revolutionary idea about the brain: the ability of mere thought to alter the physical structure and function of our gray matter…”

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