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Unlocking the mystery of how brains operate

By Admin | August 16, 2017

What makes one brain cell different from the next? Scientists are finally on the verge of figuring that out and unlocking the mysteries of how our brains actually work.

The breakthrough occurred thanks to a new way to study brain cells. Scientists at the Salk Institute and University of California San Diego have been observing each cell’s methylomes, which are essentially chemical market patterns in a cell’s DNA. These patterns are allowing scientists to sort cells into subgroups, which wasn’t possible before.

Previously, scientists studied RNA molecules within brain cells, but the problem was the these molecules can change frequently throughout the day or when exposed to new environments. But methylomes remain much more stable through adulthood.

With the knowledge that scientists are gaining through this new research method, they hope to better understand brain development and dysfunction, and so far, they’re noticing many differences between the human and rodent cells they’ve studied, which in itself is no surprise. But with the “parts list” they’re compiling, they will hopefully find out what sets human brains apart from animal brains.

For more about the specifics of the research, read “New kinds of brain cells revealed” on Science Daily.

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