Epigenetics and the connectome
February 7, 2012 | James Kohl
Sebastian Seung: I am my connectome (TED talks video)
Why you should listen to him:
“In the brain, neurons are connected into a complex network. Sebastian Seung and his lab at MIT are inventing technologies for identifying and describing the connectome, the totality of connections between the brain’s neurons — think of it as the wiring diagram of the brain. We possess our entire genome at birth, but things like memories are not “stored” in the genome; they are acquired through life and accumulated in the brain. Seung’s hypothesis is that “we are our connectome,” that the connections among neurons is where memories and experiences get stored.”
My comments after listening to him:
In twenty minutes, you can learn more than you might otherwise learn from any series of college textbooks on the topics he integrates.
see also My connectome, myself
“The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each of which is connected to many others. Neuroscientists believe these connections hold the key to our memories, personality and even mental disorders such as schizophrenia. By unraveling them, we may be able to learn more about how we become our unique selves, and possibly even how to alter those selves.”
My comments after reading the article linked above:
What remains to be learned about about the epigenetic effects of sensory input from the environment on the genetically predisposed connectome and behavior will almost undoubtedly incorporate the calibration of neural networks for individual survival by food odors and the calibration of neural networks for species survival by pheromones. You would do well to learn about survival of other species, to help ensure their individual survival and yours.
I ordered the book earlier today so that I can learn more about this challenging work and also about the sensory stimuli that currently are being used to activate the complexity of the neural networks that are being studied. For example, sex differences in these neural networks might be demonstrated by activation with species specific mixtures of pheromones linked to sex differences in behavior.