Behavioral genetics or “Neurogenetics,” is based on the evolutionary ideas of T. Dobzhansky on brain development and behavior. It continues with the “experimental genetics of higher nervous activity” of I. Pavlov and uses a comparative approach in the study of heredity and variation in behavioral manifestations, from Protozoa to humans. The study of the classical Pavlovian conditioned reflex in mutant Drosophila helped to identify the main types of memory and their evolutionary conservatism. Long-term memory defects are caused by mutations of the same genes as in mental retardation in humans, when signaling cascades intersecting with the cAMP-dependent pathway are damaged. The cascade of actin remodeling is also among these. The key enzyme, LIM-kinase 1, controls cognitive manifestations of the “genomic disease” Williams deletion syndrome. Its study resulted in the recognition of neuroepigenetics as an interface between the genome and environmental influences. Epigenetic factors of “variability”—DNA methylation, histone acetylation, and miRNA regulation—do not change the structure of the gene but its manifestations. Certain miRNAs have already been considered to be both biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases and factors of the transgenerational transmission of the behaviorial properties of ancestors who experienced stress from adverse environmental influences.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: May 26, 2015
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