April17th2008 - Genes and Behavior How do genes influence...

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1 Behavioral Genetics Genes and Behavior • How do genes influence behavior? • How does the environment affect what genes do? What is Behavioral Genetics? “smart” gene found in mice Human behavioral genetics, a relatively new field, seeks to understand both the genetic and environmental contributions to individual variations in human behavior -Human Genome Project Genes as Blueprints • Genes represent blueprints for proteins • Generally speaking, behavior is caused by the action of proteins – Nerve cells – Enzymes that produce neurotransmitters or hormones – Receptors DNA Protein Behavior RNA “gene expression” “Central Dogma”
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2 Alcoholism • Alcohol addiction – Caused by alcohol abuse • Alcohol dehydrogenase – Enzyme that breaks down toxic accumulation of acetaldehyde after consuming alcohol – A genetic variant in this gene reduces function of this enzyme and is associated with reduced risk of alcoholism Monoamine Oxidase • This enzyme is involved with regulating neurotransmission in the brain • A Dutch family has a mutation rendering the enzyme nonfunctional • Extreme aggressive behavior has been observed in several males of family Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is partly heritable. Family, twin, and adoptive studies show a higher incidence among biological relatives. Monozygotic ( identical ) twins share “identical genes” – dizygotic ( fraternal ) have half of their genes in common. Twin Studies • When monozygotic twins are more similar than dizygotic twins, the inference is that there is a genetic component to the trait under study Schizophrenia If both twins suffer from schizophrenia, they are concordant for the disease. If only one member of a pair has it, they are
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This note was uploaded on 09/13/2010 for the course PSC Psychology taught by Professor Cossowings during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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April17th2008 - Genes and Behavior How do genes influence...

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