Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brains   posted by JP @ 10/03/2006 04:47:00 PM

Narrowing down genes that play a role in cognition, bit by bit...

1. Way back when, in 2004, Bruce Lahn's group published a paper arguing that nervous system genes, particularly neurodevelopmental genes, showed accelerated evolution in primates as compared to rodents. A new paper restricts the analysis to genes in a certain pathway-- one involved in programmed cell death-- and finds the same thing-- accelerated evolution in primates. A number of interesting genes worth study are in the pathway.

2. In April, a group reported on a (weak) association between intelligence and variants in a gene encoding for dysbindin-1. A new study sheds a little light on what this protein does and where it does it. A first step towards understand if and how it plays a role in higher cognitive function.