Previously unstudied gene is essential for normal nerve development

Previously unstudied gene is essential for normal nerve development

Our ability to detect heat, touch, tickling and other sensations depends on our sensory nerves. Now, for the first time, researchers have identified a gene that orchestrates the crucially important branching of nerve fibers that occurs during development.

via ScienceDaily: Top Health News:

Oct. 10, 2013 — Our ability to detect heat, touch, tickling and other sensations depends on our sensory nerves. Now, for the first time, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have identified a gene that orchestrates the crucially important branching of nerve fibers that occurs during development. The findings were published online today in the journal Cell.The research focuses on dendrites, the string-like extensions of sensory nerves that penetrate tissues of the skin, eyes and other sensory organs. “The formation of dendritic branches — ‘arbors’ as we call them — is vital for allowing sensory nerves to collect information and sample the environment appropriately,” said Hannes Buelow, Ph.D., senior author of the Cell paper and associate professor of genetics at Einstein. “These arbors vary greatly in shape and complexity, reflecting the different types of sensory input they receive. The loss of dendritic complexity has been linked to a range of neurological problems including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders.” Dr. Buelow is also associate professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience.The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, revealed that humans possess some 20,500 genes and determined the DNA sequence of each. But for many of those genes, their function in the body has remained unknown. …

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ScienceDaily: Top Health News

Previously unstudied gene is essential for normal nerve development

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