So genes don’t rule? From ScienceDaily:
Mice have a reputation for timidity. Yet when confronted with an unfamiliar peer, a mouse may respond by rearing, chasing, grappling, and biting — and come away with altered sensitivity toward future potential threats.
What changes in the brain of an animal when its behavior is altered by experience? Research at the University of Illinois led by Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Lisa Stubbs is working toward an answer to this question by focusing on the collective actions of genes. In a recent Genome Research publication (DOI: 10.1101/gr.214221.116), Stubbs and her colleagues identified and documented the activity of networks of genes involved in the response to social stress.
“The goal of this study was to understand the downstream events in mice, and how they are conveyed across interacting brain regions . . . how they might set the stage for emotional learning in response to social threat,” said Stubbs. Answers to these questions could help scientists understand how the brains of other animals, including humans, generate social behavior, as well as what goes wrong in disorders of social behavior. Paper. (paywall) – Michael C. Saul1,12, Christopher H. Seward1,2,12, Joseph M. Troy1,3, Huimin Zhang1,2, Laura G. Sloofman1,4, Xiaochen Lu1,2, Patricia A. Weisner1,5, Derek Caetano-Anolles1,2, Hao Sun1, Sihai Dave Zhao1,6, Sriram Chandrasekaran7,8,9, Saurabh Sinha1,4,10,11 and Lisa Stubbs1,2,5 More.
On the other hand, do we want to teach rodents to stand up to cats?
See also: There’s a gene for that… or is there?
Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!