HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
'Jumping genes' contribute to the uniqueness of individual brains

LA JOLLA Brains are marvels of diversity: no two look the same -- not even those of otherwise identical twins. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found one explanation for the puzzling variety in brain organization and function: mobile elements, pieces of DNA that can jump from one place in the genome to another, randomly changing the genetic information in single brain cells. If enough of these jumps occur, they could allow individual brains to develop in distinctly different ways.

"This mobility adds an element of variety and flexibility to neurons in a real Darwinian sense of randomness and selection," says Fred H. Gage, Professor and co-head of the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute and the lead author of the study published in this week's Nature. This process of creating diversity with the help of mobile elements and then selecting for the fittest is restricted to the brain and leaves other organs unaffected. "You wouldn't want that added element of individuality in your heart," he adds.

Precursor cells in the embryonic brain, which mature into neurons, look and act more or less the same. Yet, these precursors ultimately give rise to a panoply of nerve cells that are enormously diverse in form and function and together form the brain. Identifying the mechanisms that lead to this diversification has been a longstanding challenge. "People have speculated that there might be a mechanism to create diversity in brain like there is in the immune system, and the immune system's diversity is perhaps the closest analogy we have," says Gage.

In the immune system, the genes coding for antibodies are shuffled to create a wide variety of antibodies capable of recognizing an infinite number of distinct antigens.

In their study, the researchers closely tracked a single human mobile genetic element, a so-called LINE-1 or L1 element in cultured neuronal precursor cells from rats. Then they introduced it
'"/>

Contact: Cathy Yarbrough
yarbrough@salk.edu
858-452-8051
Salk Institute
15-Jun-2005


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Jumping gene helps explain immune systems abilities
2. NSF awards UGA $4.1 million grant to study so-called jumping genes in maize
3. Where jumping genes fear to tread
4. Scientists get look at genes defensive playbook
5. Penn receives grant for initiative to help understand genes effects on medications
6. Biocontrol of invasive water hyacinth contributes to socioeconomic and health improvements in Africa
7. K-State biochemist contributes to article in Science magazine
8. Cytokine resistance contributes to pathology of type 2 diabetes
9. Malaria in pregnancy: What can the social sciences contribute?
10. Protein averts cell suicide but might contribute to cancer
11. Sequence variation in the alpha synuclein gene contributes to alcohol craving

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/14/2019)... , ... December 12, 2019 , ... ... that protect or enhance crop yields, has appointed Jean Pougnier as chief business ... establish relationships with go-to-market partners and influencers that will position the company for ...
(Date:12/2/2019)... ... December 01, 2019 , ... ... tools, technologies, and techniques to hit the life-science landscape. For more than a ... speeding work in laboratories and facilitating biological discovery. This year’s crop of entries ...
(Date:11/22/2019)... BUFFALO, N.Y. (PRWEB) , ... November 21, 2019 ... ... immunotherapy developed at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center have announced a major step ... and Michael Ciesielski, PhD, have announced that the company, spun off from Roswell ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/18/2019)... ... December 18, 2019 , ... Tune in to CNBC on Saturday, December 28th ... local listings for more information on this program. , With a look at ... simplify complex system to increase the efficiency, safety and effectiveness of equipment, systems, and ...
(Date:12/6/2019)... ... December 06, 2019 , ... Southern ... for its latest CAPERE® Thrombectomy System for peripheral vascular, deep vein thrombosis ... benefits for first-in-line treatment for nonsurgical removal of soft emboli and thrombi ...
(Date:12/4/2019)... ... December 03, 2019 , ... Absolute Antibody Ltd. , ... with the Recombinant Antibody Network (RAN), a consortium of three expert centers at ... a common goal to generate recombinant antibodies at a proteome-wide scale. Under the ...
(Date:12/4/2019)... ... December 03, 2019 , ... A new study released ... can reduce and even reverse fibrosis (scar tissue) buildup – also improves the range ... School of Medicine, was conducted on mice. , The tumor-destroying capabilities of radiation ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: