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Dec 28
Found: Gene that controls memory
A team led by an Indian-origin neuroscientist has found a gene that "turns on" when memories are stored in the brain, a discovery they believe could help pinpoint the exact locations of memories in the brain.

It's known that when one witnesses a new event, the brain encodes a memory of it by altering the connections between neurons. This needs turning on many genes in those neurons. Now, neuroscientists at the MIT have identified a gene, called Npas4, which is very active in the hippocampus - a brain structure known to be critical in forming long-term memories.

The findings, described in the journal Science, would be a breakthrough in pinpointing the exact locations of memories in the brain and might open up new avenues for altering or even creating memory, the researchers said.
"We think of Npas4 as the initial trigger that comes on, and then in turn, in the right spot in the brain, it activates all these other downstream targets," a researcher said.

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