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Master Gene That Controls Formation of New Memories

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on December 26, 2011 at 2:10 PM
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 Master Gene That Controls Formation of New Memories

A team at the MIT led by Indian-origin neuroscientist have discovered a master gene that controls the forming of new memories in our brain.

The gene known as Npas4, which is very active in the hippocampus, triggers a complex reaction that results in memories (events) being encoded into the brain's neurons. A researcher said, "We think of Npas4 as the initial trigger that comes on, and then in turn, in the right spot in the brain, it activates all these other downstream targets."

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During mice studies it was found that by knocking out Npas4 from test subjects, neuroscientists were able to stop new memories from forming. Scientists are almost certain that the same effect is also present in humans.

Researchers feel that these findings would be a breakthrough in pinpointing the exact locations of memories in the brain and might open up new avenues for altering or even creating memory.

The study is published in the journal Science.

Source: Medindia
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