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NEUR 2600 Lecture Notes - Drosophila Melanogaster, Neuron Doctrine, Human Brain


Course Code
NEUR 2600
Ian Whishaw

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Where do neurons come from?
The building blocks of the nervous system, its neurons, are similar in all animals that have a
nervous system.
The human nervous system is build int an organized way and it is possible to see stept by
step how that organization came about by examining predecessors?
How did it get built?
The addition of more neurons is related to behavior becoming more complex.
The theory of descent with modification predicts:
Genes are on chromosomes
First genome
Put an extra chromosome in a fruit fly and observing
abnormalities in the fruit fly and manipulate gene by gene and
discover what it is that produces this disorder, you can do
genetic modifications to stop it.
Maybe it's just one gene?
Why would adding one more chromosome make things bad?
Caused by Chromosome 21, results in learning impairments, alzheimer like
changes in the brain, earlier death, distinctive features
Understanding of Down's syndrome
Fruit fly
Why do we study these animals? What can we learn from animal research?
Each one has a particular way of answering a question that a scientist wants to answer
Fruit fly, California sea slug, zebra finches (complicated songs), mice and monkeys
A wide variety of animals are used to research, including humans.
The human brain is too complex
Understand the evolution of the human brain
Understand animals
Model human diseases
Find relationships between brain structure and behavior.
Darwin's finches, natural selection
Darwin's pigeons, artificial selection
First person to describe a neuron
Nobel prize in 1906
Santiago Ramon y Cajal
Don't touch each other, communication
Cells have very distinctive features
Take these cells and stain them (talked about later)
The neuron theory
Take what you know about neurons and apply it to other animals
Every animal that has muscles, nervous systems, etc, has a neuron that looks like every other
animal's neurons
C Elegans has 302 neurons of some 900 cells
The amount of trees in the Amazon
How big is 100 billion?
Human brain was 100 billion neurons
Why study non-human animals?
10:55 AM
Brain and Behavior Page 1
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