Navigation Links
Big brains are pricey, guppy study shows
Date:1/3/2013

Bigger brains can make animals, well, brainier, but that boost in brain size and ability comes at a price. That's according to new evidence reported on January 3rd in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, in which researchers artificially selected guppies for large and small brain sizes.

The findings lend support to the notion that bigger brains and increased cognitive ability do go together, a topic that has been a matter of considerable debate in recent years, said Niclas Kolm of Uppsala University in Sweden. They also represent some of the first convincing evidence that large brains are expensive, evolutionarily speaking.

"We provide the first experimental evidence that evolving a larger brain really is costly in terms of both gut investment and, more importantly, reproductive output," Kolm said.

Together, the findings strongly support the idea that relative brain sizes among species are shaped through a balance between selection for increased cognitive ability and the costs of a big brain.

The results in guppies have important implications for us humans. After all, one of the most distinctive features of the human brain is its large size relative to the rest of the body.

"The human brain only makes up 2 percent of our total body mass but stands for 20 percent of our total energy demand," Kolm said. "It is a remarkably costly organ energetically."

But support for the so-called "expensive-tissue hypothesis"that there is a trade-off between the brain and the energy demands of other organs and reproductioncame only from comparative studies among species and were correlative in nature.

In the new study, Kolm's team took a different, within-species approach. They selected live-bearing guppies for large and small brains relative to the size of their bodies. Under that strong selection pressure, they found that brain size could evolve "remarkably quickly."

After selection, large-brained guppies outscored their smaller-brained peers in a test of numerical learning. With more energy devoted to brain-building, brainy fishmales especiallydid have smaller guts. They also left fewer offspring to the next generation.

Those effects were observed despite the fact that the fish were supplied with an abundance of food. The researchers say they are curious to see what will happen in future experiments with fish in a more competitive, semi-natural environment including limited resources and predators.

The findings lead Kolm and his colleagues to suggest that the relatively small family sizes of humans and other primates, not to mention dolphins and whales, might have helped to make our big brains possible.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
moleary@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Musical duets lock brains as well as rhythms
2. Primates brains make visual maps using triangular grids
3. Preemies brains reap long-term benefits from Kangaroo Mother Care
4. Mice with big brains provide insight into brain regeneration and developmental disorders
5. University of Alberta led research may have discovered how memories are encoded in our brains
6. Hebrew University study finds key mechanism in calcium regulation
7. New study documents the natural relationship between CO2 concentrations and sea level
8. Stowers study hints that stem cells prepare for maturity much earlier than anticipated
9. Birdsong study pecks theory that music is uniquely human
10. Study turns parasite invasion theory on its head
11. Gout study offers genetic insight into disease of kings
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... , Dec. 15, 2016  There is much ... doors or starting the engine. Continental will demonstrate the ... Las Vegas . Through the combination of ... and Entry) and biometric elements, the international technology company ... vehicle personalization and authentication. "The integration of ...
(Date:12/8/2016)...  Singulex, Inc., the leader in Next Generation Immunodiagnostics ... license and supply agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific, the ... access to Thermo Scientific BRAHMS PCT (Procalcitonin), a biomarker ... to diagnose systemic bacterial infection and sepsis and in ... in assessing the risk of critically ill patients for ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016   Veridium , a leader ... of new CEO James Stickland . Stickland, ... of experience, has served in senior executive roles ... specialized in expanding a pipeline of venture capital ... most recently served as managing director of U.K.-based ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/12/2017)... The report "Direct-Fed Microbials Market by Type (Lactic Acid Bacteria and Bacillus), Livestock ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market is estimated to ... 1,399.6 Million by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.96% from 2016. ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... Ovation Fertility™ Genetics now offers a ... screening (PGS). , “Our genetics and IVF teams are recognized experts in both ... Amy Jones, M.S., ELD (ABB) , who has worked with or directed ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... , Jan. 11, 2017  Brian Mehling, M.D., world-renowned ... of Blue Horizon International (BHI), will be attending the ... Davos from January 17-20, 2017. This will ... The theme of this year,s forum is ... 400 sessions will address strategies for fostering greater social ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... January 11, ... ... ongoing series of in-kind scientific grants to ground-breaking microbiome studies. Its most recent ... University School of Medicine, who will study the effect of long-term use of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: