News May 26, 2015
Adolescents who indulge in binge-drinking may alter patterns of gene expression in their still-developing brains, causing long-lasting behavioral changes. To model adolescent binge-drinking in humans, scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago intermittently exposed 28-day-old rats to alcohol. The rats showed increased anxiety-like behaviors, and they drank more alcohol in adulthood, long after exposure to alcohol had ended. The rats’ amygdalae, the scientists found, contained increased levels of a histone-modifying protein called HDAC2. It causes DNA to coil extra-tightly around histone-complex “spools,” lessening the accessibility of certain genes. One such gene, the scientists indicated appears to be needed for the formation of new synaptic connections.
3-D Representation of Motor Space in the BrainNews
Neuroscientists found that the superior colliculus, a region of the midbrain, is where three-dimensional motor space is mapped, and importantly they showed how the activity of neurons in this brain region leads to controlled spatially targeted movement.READ MORE
4000-Year Old DNA Helps Track the Spread of Rice Farming in AsiaNews
Rice farming spread far and wide in ancient Southeast Asia, but how it got there has been a mystery. Now, a study of 4000-year-old DNA—a rare find in this region—suggests it came with farmers migrating from China, where rice farming originated.
Island Life: Worm-eating Mice Hold Clues to EvolutionNews
How much space does a population need to branch out and form a new species? A small island in the Philippines, and four species of mice that live on it, have helped researchers work out the answer.READ MORE