Sunday, October 30, 2011

Multiple studies of human brain function were conducted recently, which scientists hope will lead to new information about mental illnesses. Data was collected through studying gene regulation in donated brains from all ages (ranging from a few weeks after conception to old age). Gene regulation is where, how, and for how long each gene is turned on and off over the course of a person’s life. The team also divided up the brain into different regions of tissues so that it was possible to pinpoint the genes’ behavior to different locations of the brain. It was observed that the highest level of gene regulation change, when genes were producing the largest amounts of mRNA, occurred during the prenatal period and the second largest period was during the later period of the 50s to 70s. Although this research is not complete, looking at gene regulation as opposed to the actual gene content will illustrate larger variations between people and species and hopefully provide more explanations for mental illnesses.

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