Chromosome 16: gene involved in memory, Matt Ridley

Interviewee: Matt Ridley. Genes located on chromosomes 2 and 16 are involved in learning and memory. CREB is a gene that mediates long-term memory. It acts as a master gene that turns on other genes, assisted by CREBBP (CREB binding protein). Another memory gene on chromosome 16, alpha-integrin, plays a role in binding cells together, suggesting that memory may result from tightening the connections between neurons. (DNAi Location: Genome > Tour > Genome spots > Chromosomes 16: memory > A chromosome 16 story)

We learn something new and lay down a new, long-term memory, we need genes to help us do it. There's a set of seventeen genes involved in memories, and one of them is here on chromosome 16. It seems as if these genes are actually switched on in order to create new connections between nerve cells in our brains. So the switching on and off of genes, by the act of remembering, means that these aren't genes that are building our bodies, or running our bodies. These are genes involved in the day-to-day processes of actually learning and functioning inside the brain.

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