Brain & Behavior

We have studied the human brain for millennia, dating all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, yet we still understand little about how our most vital organ functions or how the cellular networks that operate our brain produce complex behaviors and memory storage. We know our brains take input from both genetic predispositions as well as from environmental cues—like upbringing and our unique experiences. We also know that our brains are highly flexible and responsive to our environments. Neither tells the complete story and scientists remained stumped as to how our brains ‘put it all together.’ In recent years some neurologists have proposed epigenetic modifications like methylation and histone modifications as the process that hard writes our experiences into our neurons. A major study revealed that rats who were licked more as pups were less anxious and dealt with stress better as adults—an activity that researchers linked to epigenetic modifications on a gene involved with stress hormones. Does this study implicate epigenetics as the bridge between nature and nurture in determining our behavior? Or is it are our genes and other factors that are in control? Is it epigenetics that underlies how we maintain this plasticity?

Understanding Epigenetics:
Brain & Behavior
Check out these stories for more context on epigenetics and agriculture
Epigenetics Has Become Dangerously Fashionable
J.C. Barnes, Brian Boutwell | Nautilus
Research
Epigenetics and the evolution of instincts
April 13, 2017 | Gene Robinson, Andrew Barron | Science
Targeting aggression in severe mental illness: The predictive role of genetic, epigenetic, and metabolomic markers
April 06, 2017 | Mirko Manchia, Vassilios Fanos | Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Investigation of correlations between DNA methylation, suicidal behavior and aging
April 05, 2017 | Richie Jeremian | Bipolar Disorders
Precision cancer therapy is impacted by oncogene-dependent epigenome remodeling
March 28, 2017 | Feng Liu, Paul Mischel, Webster Cavenee | Precision Oncology
Zooming in on nuclear organization
March 22, 2017 | Katharine Wrighton | Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
DNA methylation mediates neural processing after odor learning in the honeybee
February 28, 2017 | Stephanie Biergans | Scientific Reports
Epigenetic alterations in cellular immunity: New insights into autoimmune diseases
February 21, 2017 | Zijun Wang, Zhihui Wang, Qianjin Lu | Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Epigenetic regulation of axon regeneration after neural injury
February 09, 2017 | Jung Eun Shin, Yongcheol Cho | Molecules and Cells