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Epigenetics in C. elegans: Facts and challenges

Epigenetics is defined as the study of heritable changes in gene expression that are not accompanied by changes in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms include histone post-translational modifications, histone variant incorporation, non-coding RNAs, and nucleosome remodeling and exchange. In addition, the functional compartmentalization of the nucleus also contributes to epigenetic regulation of
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Epigenetic Mechanisms in Cognition

Although the critical role for epigenetic mechanisms in development and cell differentiation has long been appreciated, recent evidence reveals that these mechanisms are also employed in postmitotic neurons as a means of consolidating and stabilizing cognitive-behavioral memories. In this review, we discuss evidence for an “epigenetic code” in the central nervous system that mediates synaptic plasticity,
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Epigenetic impacts on neurodevelopment: pathophysiological mechanisms and genetic modes of action.

Disruptions of genes that are involved in epigenetic functions are known to be causative for several mental retardation/intellectual disability (MR/ID) syndromes. Recent work has highlighted genes with epigenetic functions as being implicated in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and schizophrenia (SCZ). The gene-environment interaction is an important factor of pathogenicity for these complex disorders.
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Experimental and Theoretical Approaches to Conscious Processing

Recent experimental studies and theoretical models have begun to address the challenge of establishing a causal link between subjective conscious experience and measurable neuronal activity. The present review focuses on the well-delimited issue of how an external or internal piece of information goes beyond nonconscious processing and gains access to conscious processing, a transition characterized
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The Extraction of 3D Shape in the Visual System of Human and Nonhuman Primates

Depth structure, the third dimension of object shape, is extracted from disparity, motion, texture, and shading in the optic array. Gradient-selective neurons play a key role in this process. Such neurons occur in CIP, AIP, TEs, and F5 (for first- or second-order disparity gradients), in MT/V5, in FST (for speed gradients), and in CIP and TEs (for texture gradients). Most of these regions are activated
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DNA methylation and memory formation

Memory formation and storage require long-lasting changes in memory-related neuronal circuits. Recent evidence indicates that DNA methylation may serve as a contributing mechanism in memory formation and storage. These emerging findings suggest a role for an epigenetic mechanism in learning and long-term memory maintenance and raise apparent conundrums and questions. For example, it is unclear how
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Hearing Impairment: A Panoply of Genes and Functions

Research in the genetics of hearing and deafness has evolved rapidly over the past years, providing the molecular foundation for different aspects of the mechanism of hearing. Considered to be the most common sensory disorder, hearing impairment is genetically heterogeneous. The multitude of genes affected encode proteins associated with many different functions, encompassing overarching areas of research.
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Human Brain Evolution: Harnessing the Genomics (R)evolution to Link Genes, Cognition, and Behavio

The evolution of the human brain has resulted in numerous specialized features including higher cognitive processes such as language. Knowledge of whole-genome sequence and structural variation via high-throughput sequencing technology provides an unprecedented opportunity to view human evolution at high resolution. However, phenotype discovery is a critical component of these endeavors and the use
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Epigenetic control of neural precursor cell fate during development

The temporally and spatially restricted nature of the differentiation capacity of cells in the neural lineage has been studied extensively in recent years. Epigenetic control of developmental genes, which is heritable through cell divisions, has emerged as a key mechanism defining the differentiation potential of cells. Short-term or reversible repression of developmental genes puts them in a 'poised
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XENON100 announced the new results

The XENON100 collaboration submitted a paper with the first results of a 11.2 days background analysis to PRL, excluding previously unexplored parameter space and questioning the light WIMP interpretation of the DAMA and CoGeNT results. The preprint can be found here: arXiv:1005.0380.These results are also covered in the media:The New York TimesNew ScientistNature BlogDiscover Magazine BlogScientific
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