Learning Gene Identified
20th February, 2018: Researchers at Feil Family Brain and
Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine, under the leadership of
Anjali Rajadhyaksha, have identified a gene called CRBN gene, correlated to the
learning process of mice. The results are published in published in the
journal, Journal of Neuroscience (JouNeueroScience).
It is found that the adult male mice lacking a gene linked to intellectual disability have trouble completing and remembering mazes, with no changes in social or repetitive behavior. This animal model provides new insights into learning and memory. It also renders insights into the intellectual disability and complex disorders like autism spectrum disorder, Fragile X and Down syndrome that co-occur with other conditions.
It is, for example, found that treating the mice with a compound that inhibits the activity of an enzyme in the hippocampus improved the learning and memory deficits. Such mice, treated with the enzyme, were found to interact with a fellow mouse. They developed repetitive grooming behavior, indicating that the gene is not associated with behaviors that often co-occur with intellectual disability, as in autism.