Researchers Claim to have Identified ‘Teen Gene’ for Adolescent Brain Development
Scientists claim they have identified a gene responsible for adolescent brain development, raising hopes for many with mental health vulnerability. The first gene has been identified by researchers by working with mice. Quebec's Douglas Institute Research Centre has revealed that a gene, DCC, has been isolated by scientists. The gene is responsible for dopamine connectivity in the medial prefrontal cortex during adolescence.
What the researchers found through their study was the fact that dysfunction of this gene during adolescence led to cause behavioral consequences. These were also carried into the adulthood.
They are excited by their findings. Well, why they should not be? After all! They have found first clues to gain a full insight into how genetics can have effects on this area of brain development.
"Certain psychiatric disorders can be related to alterations in the function of the prefrontal cortex and to changes in the activity of the brain chemical dopamine", said Cecilia Flores, senior author on the study and professor at McGill's Department of Psychiatry.
Prefrontal cortex wiring in known to develop into early adulthood, but its mechanism was not known until now. Its functioning plays a vital role for learning abilities, motivation and cognitive processes. Alterations in prefrontal cortex development can lead to have long-term consequences later in life, she added.
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