BIOC54H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Phenylalanine Hydroxylase, Phenylalanine, Movement Disorder

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Bioc54 w3l3: mechanisms of behaviour (genes, neurons, development) Symptoms of pku: intellectual disability, delayed social skills, hyperactivity, movement disorders, seizures. Several disorders have an interesting mode of inheritance in that they are more prevalent in twins than they are to siblings and/or the population: so, there is some inherited patterns with brain disorders. Those with pku fail to conduct the chemical process of turning phenylalanine into tyrosine, which then gets broken down into melanin and l-dopa (a precursor to dopamine). The mutation in phenylalanine hydroxylase gene leads to smaller and fewer neurons. This ultimately causes altered brain function: phenylalanine is acquired when we eat, so, researchers found that they could mitigate some of these effects by a diet that was low or absent of phenylalanine. There are genetic underpinnings to human behavioral disorders. Previous lecture we focused on ultimate aspects of behaviour (evolution) Today we focus on the proximate mechanisms underlying behaviour.

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