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Genes Responsible For Brain Growth Identified

A group of American scientists have identified a set of genes that are most likely responsible for brain growth and development.

Dr. Katharine Sepp and her fellow researchers took fresh neuronal cells extracted from embryos of the fruit fly genus Drosophila and screened them using RNA interference techniques. The abstract states:

In this work, we developed techniques to test all genes, one by one in a rapid manner, for their potential role in neuronal development using neurons isolated from fruit fly embryos. These results yielded a global perspective of what types of genes are necessary for brain development; importantly, they show that a large variety of genes can be studied in this way.

Once we know the genes responsible for brain growth and development, it may become possible to intervene in the process and make the resulting brain more capable.

Readers may recall that in his 1932 novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley wrote about processes that could improve the intelligence of the human fetus.

"And now," Mr. Foster went on, "I'd like to show you some very interesting conditioning for the Alpha Plus intellectuals. We have a big batch of them on Rack 5. First Gallery level," he called to two boys who had started to go down to the ground floor.

"They're round about Meter 9000," he explained. "You can't really do any useful intellectual conditioning till the foetuses have lost their tails."

From Identification of Neural Outgrowth Genes using Genome-Wide RNAi via io9.

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