Navigation Links
Nurture impacts nature: Experiences leave genetic mark on brain, behavior
Date:11/11/2013

SAN DIEGO New human and animal research released today demonstrates how experiences impact genes that influence behavior and health. Today's studies, presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health, provide new insights into how experience might produce long-term brain changes in behaviors like drug addiction and memory formation.

The studies focus on an area of research called epigenetics, in which the environment and experiences can turn genes "on" or "off," while keeping underlying DNA intact. These changes affect normal brain processes, such as development or memory, and abnormal brain processes, such as depression, drug dependence, and other psychiatric disease and can pass down to subsequent generations.

Today's new findings show that:

  • Long-term heroin abusers show differences in small chemical modifications of their DNA and the histone proteins attached to it, compared to non-abusers. These differences could account for some of the changes in DNA/histone structures that develop during addiction, suggesting a potential biological difference driving long-term abuse versus overdose (Yasmin Hurd, abstract 257.2, see attached summary).
  • Male rats exposed to cocaine may pass epigenetic changes on to their male offspring, thereby altering the next generation's response to the drug. Researchers found that male offspring in particular responded much less to the drug's influence (Matheiu Wimmer, PhD, abstract 449.19, see attached summary).
  • Drug addiction can remodel mouse DNA and chromosomal material in predictable ways, leaving "signatures," or signs of the remodeling, over time. A better understanding of these signatures could be used to diagnose drug addiction in humans (Eric Nestler, PhD, abstract 59.02, see attached summary).

Other recent findings discussed show that:

  • Researchers have identified a potentially new genetic mechanism, called piRNA, underlying long-term memory. Molecules of piRNA were previously thought to be restricted to egg and sperm cells (Eric Kandel, MD, see attached summary).
  • Epigenetic DNA remodeling is important for forming memories. Blocking this process causes memory deficits and stunts brain cell structure, suggesting a mechanism for some types of intellectual disability (Marcelo Wood, PhD, see attached summary).

"DNA may shape who we are, but we also shape our own DNA," said press conference moderator Schahram Akbarian, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, an expert in epigenetics. "These findings show how experiences like learning or drug exposure change the way genes are expressed, and could be incredibly important in developing treatments for addiction and for understanding processes like memory."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kat Snodgrass
media@sfn.org
202-962-4090
Society for Neuroscience
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Nature or nurture? It may depend on where you live
2. New study will help protect vulnerable birds from impacts of climate change
3. Selenium impacts honey bee behavior and survival
4. Model forecasts long-term impacts of forest land-use decisions
5. Stanford researchers calculate global health impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster
6. New maps may reduce tourism impacts on Hawaiian dolphins
7. Researchers to study impacts of pollutant nitrogen on plant species diversity
8. Study offers new tool for incorporating water impacts into policy decisions
9. Maple syrup, moose, and the local impacts of climate change
10. Fish ear bones point to climate impacts
11. Researchers investigate impacts of climate change on rare tropical plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016 Valencell , ... today it has seen a third consecutive year of ... sensor technology in 2016 with a 360 percent increase ... year. This increase was driven by sales of its ... robust interest in its technology for hearables for fitness ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... 2016 The report "Biometric Vehicle ... Technology (Iris Recognition System), Vehicle Type (Passenger Car, ... to 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is ... and is projected to grow to USD 854.8 ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160303/792302) ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH ... new partnership initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders ... reward their respective audiences for taking steps to ... its inception in 2012, higi has built the ... impacting over 38 million people who have conducted ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... http://www.autoreactors.com and online shopping cart. The new website has been designed to ... essential digital components allow customers to access detailed product information, read educational industry ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... world’s largest privately-held contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing organisation, today announced ... outsourcing company combining a leading CRO and the industry’s only Contract Commercial ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... company, today announced it has acquired the assets of Theorem Clinical Research ... and focuses on clinical trial drug packaging, labeling, storage, reconciliation, and distribution ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016  The Texas Medical ... of Australia (HISA) today announced the establishment of ... program between Australia and the ... world. HISA and the Texas Medical ... program to create a global health innovation ecosystem where ...
Breaking Biology Technology: