Monday, April 5, 2021

Collective behavior and genes


In nature, animals live or travel in groups for many reasons. While this serves many evolutionary and survival advantages for a species, why do animals choose to live in groups? In the article, "Genetic control of collective behavior", a group of researchers at Harvard investigated this question to understand if genes play a role in guiding collective behavior. They began this research by focusing on mutations in genes associated with social behavior, such as autism or schizophrenia. Researchers observed that group behavior was altered in fish that specific gene mutations linked to human neuropsychiatric diseases. For example, zebrafish are found in groups or schools. Mutations affecting a group of fish show some fish were either scattered or separated from the group.

This article highlights some of the most common neuropsychiatric conditions that we see in society. The research talked about in the article mentioned earlier has allowed us to understand neuropsychiatric disorders on a deeper level. Especially for understanding how these diseases originate and impact behavior in affected individuals. Known how behavior can be affected can help with the management and treatment as well. Furthermore, by linking genes related to these conditions can help us get a step closer to possible cures. 


  1. This was a really interesting read because I never knew there were genetic/psychological reasons as to why fish travel in schools! Great post!

  2. I found this article to be so informing! I never realized how mutations and genetics altered the way the different fish travels as well as why they do in groups.