Monday, April 15, 2019

Regenerative Nerve Connection in Lampreys

An article by the University of Missouri-Columbia describes why lampreys, an eel-like organism, is important to neurobiology studies. A lamprey has a simple nervous system with the ability to regenerate nerve connections and recover normal mobility within eight weeks of a spinal cord injury. The first genome for the species was recently completed. A new study led by neurobiologists David Schulz and Andrew McClellan annotates the sequences of 47 ion channels across the genome. The scientists "used bioinformatic tools to identify sequences from the lamprey genome that could potentially belong to ion channel families and then performed phylogenetic and gene expression analyses across nervous system tissues to confirm the identifications". Ion channels are pores in the cell membrane that transport ions. There are significant because in nerve cells, they are crucial for transmission and processing electrical signals. Researches believe knowing these sequences will provide for more rigorous study of the nervous system.

I think the study is beneficial because it can give researches a detailed picture of ion channels in the nervous system. They will be able to understand the structures and their individual functions better. They also can target specific gene sequences and see how they can modify their expression. 

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