Sunday, April 8, 2018
Genetics and Synesthesia
People typically describe the world around them using the five senses: touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell. The divisions between the senses become blurred with synesthesia, a condition in which sound (or another sense) may invoke color or flavors or any other typically not linked reaction. A team of scientists have recently been looking into a genetic component behind synesthesia, as it seems to run in families. However the condition is rare in the population making it hard to pinpoint and each person with synesthesia reports slightly different experiences. Using a technique called whole-exome sequencing, protein producing genes of three families with synesthesia were examined against members who were unaffected. As of the time of the article "37 genes of interest" have been marked for further study, six of them dealing with how neurons connect in the brain.
Synesthesia is a complex and fascinating crossing of the senses and has such variability that every person who experiences it has a different account. Discovering how this happens in the brain, and why this happens, would be delving deep into how we process the world around us. The research may also be linked to other sensory related conditions.
Article Link- https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/researchers-begin-unravel-how-some-people-see-sound-and-hear-color-180968374/
Scientific Paper- http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/02/27/1715492115