Single gene controls fish brain size and intelligence

first_imgEmail Share on Twitter Populations of guppies selected for either large or small brains, with associated differences in intelligence, were used for the first step in the study which was a complete genome analysis of differently expressed genes. There was a 10% difference in brain size between the large and small-brain guppies and from the genetic analysis, Ang-1 was identified as the only gene expressed at different levels in each replicate population. Further experiments in zebra fish by collaborator Professor Pertti Panula at Helsinki University confirmed that Ang-1 is a driver for brain size.Professor Judith Mank, UCL Biosciences, said: “We were surprised to see that only a single gene was up-regulated in the large-brained guppies. Given the complexity of the brain, we expected that the genetics would be very intricate, but this suggests that changes in brain size are underpinned by relatively simple genetic mechanisms.”The protein encoded by Ang-1 is known to play an important role in growing new blood vessels and forming new brain cells in mice, which may indicate an important role of Ang-1 in brain growth of other animals, even in humans, say the scientists behind the study.Dr Niclas Kolm, Stockholm University, said: “Other genes may be involved in brain growth in young, developing fish but no other genes were found to vary in their expression in adult fish other than Ang-1. Future studies will aim to investigate the role of Ang-1 and possibly other genes in the formation of differently sized brains in developing embryos”.Professor Mank added: “We don’t yet know if Ang-1 is important in human brain development – it isn’t on the list of genes typically studied in relation to human brain size – but as it plays a role in forming new blood vessels in humans, there may be a connection as large brains need a bigger blood supply, particularly during growth and for many brain functions. This presents us with an exciting opportunity to investigate the role of Ang-1 across different vertebrates.”The team now plans to study the age-specific genetic architecture of both brain structure and function based on new artificial selection experiments in the guppy. Share on Facebook A single gene called Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) drives brain size and intelligence in fish according to a new study by researchers at UCL, Stockholm University and University of Helsinki.Fish with larger brains and higher intelligence had higher expression of Ang-1, and when expression levels of Ang-1 were experimentally reduced, brains shrunk. These trends were seen in two unrelated species of fish – guppies (Poecilia reticulata) and zebra fish (Danio rerio) – indicating expression of Ang-1 is important for brain growth and development in fish generally.The study, published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, identified the underlying genetics of natural variation in brain size and cognitive abilities in fish. Ang-1 could play an important role in the brain development of other vertebrates, including humans, but future research is required to establish this say the scientists involved.center_img LinkedIn Share Pinterestlast_img read more

My digital life … David Adams

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

Hoffman, Halford Named to Walker Mallott Transition Team

first_imgHoffman: “I look forward to working with Bill and Byron and the other co-chair as well and addressing the many important issues facing Alaska after this transition process.” FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Bill Walker and Byron Mallott named two co-chairs to their transition team today at 1 pm. First Walker clarified why the team was being created. He then introduced the first co-chair, Ana Hoffman, who was born and raised in Bethel, has attained a bachelor’s degree  in psychology from Stanford University and a masters in rural development from UAF, and has served at the CEO President of the Bethel Native Corporation since 2006. Mallott introduced former Alaskan Senate President Rick Halford who is from southcentral Alaska, and a registered guide who has a passion for flying. Mallott: “I know that he is known throughout Alaska, a man of integrity, a man who is very thoughtful in considering the full range of Alaskan public policy issues, again, Bill and I are so honored to have someone with the credentials of Rick Halford to serve as co-chair of the Walker Mallott transition team.” Walker: “We’re talking about a transition team not because we know anything different than what you know, about the vote tally or the outcome, we’re constitutionally bound to be sworn in on December 1 and we need to be prepared for that so we’re going down this path because we don’t have a choice even though we don’t know the final outcome of the election it seems to appear to be prudent, we’re doing what we’re doing because that’s what we’re required to do by Alaska’s constitution.”last_img read more