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Lecture 3

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Jon Houseman

Molecular Genetics  Tries to specify the particular gene or genes involved and the precise functions of these genes  Each cell consists of 46 chromosomes (23) pairs with thousands of genes per chromosome. The term allele refers to any one of several DNA codings that occupy the same position or location on a chromosome. A persons genotype is their set of alleles  The term genetic polymorphism refers to variability among members of the species. It involves differences in the DNA sequence that can manifest in very dif forms among members of the same habitat. It entails mutations in a chromosome that can be induced or naturally occurring  It was discovered in 2004 with research on male meadow voles that manipulating a gene, the vasopressin receptor by locating it in the reward centre of the brain had the effect of making an amorous promiscuous vole into a monogamous vole. Its possible a similar process determines whether humans refrain from having more than 1 partner  Linkage analysis is a method in molecular genetics hat is used to study ppl. Use this method in families in which a disorder is heavily concentrated  they collect diagnostic info and blood samples from affected indiv and their relatives and use them to study the inheritance patter of characteristics whose genetics are fully understood referred to as genetic markers ex: eye colour is controlled by a gene in a specific location on a specific chromosome  it is concluded that the gene predisposing indi to the psychopathology is on the same chromosome and in similar location on that chromate (its linked) as the gene controlling the other chracterticsi  linkage analysis in t.o found association btwn obsessive compulsive disorder and the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) type B receptor 1 (GABBR1) gene  greatest success is to identify genes that are imp in alzhinermers  study of genetic linkage in adolescents and young adults indicated that a locus on chromosome 9 is associated with enhanced risk for externalizing psychopathology (aggression and conduct disorder)  gene environment interactions – notion that a disorder or related symptoms are the joint product of a genetic vulnerability and specific environmental experiences or conditions Neuroscience and biochemistry in the Nervous system  the NS is composed of billions of neurons  neurons diff in some ways each neuron has four major parts: 1) the cell body 2) several dendrites 3) three or more axons of varying lengths 4) terminal buttons on many end branches of the axon  when a neuron is stimulated at its cell body or through its dendrites a nerve impulse which is a change in the electric potential of the cell travels down the axon to the terminal endings  between the terminal endings f the sending axon and the cell membrane of the receiving neuron there is a small gap called the synapse  for a nerve impulse to pass from one neuron to another and for communication to occur the impulse must have a way of bridging the synaptic gap  the terminal buttons of each axon contain synaptic vesicles, small structures that are filled with neurotransmitters, chemical substances that allow a nerve impulse to release molecules of their transmitter substances and these molecules flood the synapses and diffuse toward the receiving or postsynaptic neuron  the cell membrane of the postsynaptic cell contains proteins called receptor sites that are configured so that specific neurotransmitters can fit into them  when a neurotransmitter fits into a receptor site a message can be sent to the postsynaptic cell. What actually happens to the postsynaptic neuron depends on its integrating thousands of similar messages  sometimes the messages are excitatory leading to the creation of a nerve impulse in the postsynaptic cell at other times the messages can be inhibitory making the postsyn
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